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B.C. woman fundraising after family members killed in Morocco earthquake

Click to play video: 'Williams Lake couple helps Moroccan rebuild after quake devastates family'
Williams Lake couple helps Moroccan rebuild after quake devastates family
They lost seven members of their family when an earthquake devastated parts of Morocco in September. But a couple in Williams Lake is raising money to help the country rebuild. Catherine Urquhart reports. – Oct 7, 2023

A B.C. woman is raising funds to support Morocco’s earthquake victims after losing seven family members herself last month.

Kenza Lahlou, who lives in Williams Lake, left Morocco in 2019, but many members of her family remained.

“We couldn’t get ahold of (my) grandparents, cousins, uncle and auntie. Later that week, we received the news that unfortunately they all died in the earthquake,” she told Global News.

The 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Morocco on Sept. 6. Entire mountain villages collapsed and thousands of buildings were severely damaged, killing more than 2,900 people.

Click to play video: 'Nowhere to live, nowhere to turn: Morocco earthquake survivors left traumatized'
Nowhere to live, nowhere to turn: Morocco earthquake survivors left traumatized

Lahlou said during the first few hours after the initial earthquake, it was like a living nightmare for her.

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“It was terrifying, just sitting at work, not knowing what was going on. I was on edge all day,” she said.

She has now turned her grief into action, raising money that she said will be going toward rebuilding schools and hospitals in the devastated region.

“We’re just hoping to give them as much as we can so they are able to have those services,” Lahlou said.

“Education is very important. (The children) are the future and the hope, and we are hoping they are the generations that will lift up the country.”

Lahlou works at the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre with a serious passion for education and students.

Click to play video: 'Morocco earthquake: Survivors continue to sleep outdoors in makeshift shelters, 5 days after tragedy'
Morocco earthquake: Survivors continue to sleep outdoors in makeshift shelters, 5 days after tragedy

The federal government matched donations to the Canadian Red Cross to help Morocco recover from the devastating earthquake in mid-September.

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Global Affairs Canada said the money is being used to help the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement deliver life-saving services, such as emergency food, water, emergency cash and vouchers, as well as sanitation and health services. Another $2 million in federal assistance was provided for immediate needs.

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