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Country analysis

Morocco


Morocco is the country of origin of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Europe. It is also a transit and destination country for mixed migration flows, mostly from sub-Saharan countries. People on the move hoping to eventually reach Europe but staying in Morocco because of movement restrictions and a lack of money to complete their journeys face the risk of human trafficking and detention. They also suffer from poor living conditions. Many of those in an irregular status reside in highly unsanitary makeshift camps, mostly in Casablanca city.

Police periodically undertake operations to evacuate and dismantle the camps, with reports of them using force and camp occupants responding with violence. Others stay in tents in mountain forests in the north of the country, waiting for an opportunity to cross into Spain. Integration into Moroccan society has also been difficult because of discrimination, and those in an irregular status lack the documentation needed for employment.

On 8 September 2023, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit central Morocco, affecting 2.8 million people. It damaged or destroyed more than 59,600 houses, increasing needs for temporary shelters and reconstruction efforts. There is also a need for mental health services, especially for children. (IOM accessed 25/01/2023, UNHCR 13/10/2022, Euro-Med Monitor 25/06/2022, InfoMigrants 13/09/2022, Govt. Morocco 25/09/2023)

Morocco is the country of origin of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Europe. It is also a transit and destination country for mixed migration flows, mostly from sub-Saharan countries. People on the move hoping to eventually reach Europe but staying in Morocco because of movement restrictions and a lack of money to complete their journeys face the risk of human trafficking and detention. They also suffer from poor living conditions. Many of those in an irregular status reside in highly unsanitary makeshift camps, mostly in Casablanca city.

Police periodically undertake operations to evacuate and dismantle the camps, with reports of them using force and camp occupants responding with violence. Others stay in tents in mountain forests in the north of the country, waiting for an opportunity to cross into Spain. Integration into Moroccan society has also been difficult because of discrimination, and those in an irregular status lack the documentation needed for employment.

On 8 September 2023, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit central Morocco, affecting 2.8 million people. It damaged or destroyed more than 59,600 houses, increasing needs for temporary shelters and reconstruction efforts. There is also a need for mental health services, especially for children. (IOM accessed 25/01/2023, UNHCR 13/10/2022, Euro-Med Monitor 25/06/2022, InfoMigrants 13/09/2022, Govt. Morocco 25/09/2023)

Latest updates on country situation

29 October 2023

People displaced by the earthquake that hit Morocco on 8 September 2023 continue to reside in tents and have shelter needs. The start of the rainy season has made conditions worse. On 21 October, a storm with strong winds affected the country, destroying people’s tents. On 24 October, demonstrations involving hundreds of people in Amizmi town called upon the Government to provide housing. (BBC 25/10/2023, The New Arab 23/10/2023)

11 September 2023

An estimated 380,000 people are exposed to the impact of a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that hit central Morocco on 8 September 2023. The quake killed at least 2,000 people and injured 2,000 others. The numbers of displaced people and damaged or destroyed buildings remain unknown. The most affected areas include some hard-to-reach villages in al-Haouz and Taroudant. Those in need require food, clean water, tents, and blankets. (ACAPS 10/09/2023, IFRC 11/09/2023)

05 July 2023

Between 15 June and 1 July 2023, at least 90 migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers died while attempting to cross from Morocco to Canary Islands, Spain. As the weather improved in June, the migration movement over the Western Mediterranean route increased. About 2,600 migrants arrived in Spain that month alone, while 4,400 arrivals were recorded between January–May 2023. The majority of migrants are from Ethiopia, Gambia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Sudan, and they seek migration to escape insecurity and worsening economic conditions in their countries. The use of wooden or inflatable boats and overcrowding are some of the factors leading to more accidents in the Mediterranean. On 21 June, a lack of coordination between rescue teams in Spain and Morocco contributed to the delayed rescue of a boat that eventually capsized, killing at least 37 people. Generally, new arrivals to Spain need medical attention and registration assistance. (InfoMigrants 03/07/2023, BBC 23/06/2023, UNHCR 28/06/2023)

current crises
in Morocco


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

MAR001 - Multiple crises

Last updated 29/01/2024


Drivers

Displacement
Earthquake

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

3.2 High

Access constraints

2.0

MAR003 - Al Haouz Earthquake

Last updated 29/01/2024


Drivers

Earthquake

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

3 Medium

Access constraints

1.0

MAR002 - Mixed Migration

Last updated 29/01/2024


Drivers

Displacement

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.7 Medium

Access constraints

1.0

REG008 - Western Mediterranean Route

Last updated 29/01/2024


Drivers


Crisis level

Regional

Severity level

2.7 Medium

Access constraints

1.0

Analysis products
on Morocco

Morocco: earthquake province profiles for Azilal, Ouarzazate, and Marrakesh prefecture

14 September 2023

Morocco: earthquake province profiles for Azilal, Ouarzazate, and Marrakesh prefecture

DOCUMENT / PDF / 2 MB

Since the initial quake, a magnitude 4.9 aftershock (19 minutes after the initial quake) and a magnitude 3.9 aftershock (on Sunday, 10 September) have hit the country. The most affected provinces are al-Haouz, Azilal, Chichaoua, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, and Taroudant. The earthquake particularly affected remote mountainous villages, as boulders led to road closures, making access challenging and slowing down rescue efforts.

Natural hazards
Earthquake in Morocco: province profiles for al-Haouz, Taroudant, and Chichaoua

12 September 2023

Earthquake in Morocco: province profiles for al-Haouz, Taroudant, and Chichaoua

DOCUMENT / PDF / 2 MB

An estimated 380,000 people were exposed to the impact of a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that hit Morocco on 8 September 2023. The three most affected provinces are al-Haouz, Taroudant, and Chichaoua which have recorded the most fatalities. Access to these provinces has been challenging because of their mountainous nature slowing down rescue efforts. 

Natural hazards
Morocco: earthquake

10 September 2023

Morocco: earthquake

DOCUMENT / PDF / 273 KB

On 8 September, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit central Morocco. Its epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, southwest of Marrakesh city. The number of damaged and destroyed buildings remains unknown but estimated at hundreds. Food, water, and tents are the main needs reported. 

Natural hazards
Morocco: Migrants in Ouled Ziane, Casablanca

19 December 2018

Morocco: Migrants in Ouled Ziane, Casablanca

DOCUMENT / PDF / 248 KB

Moroccan authorities have dismantled shelters and arrested over 6,500 migrants between July and September 2018, forcing thousands of migrants to increasingly move to cities, and away from makeshift shelters in forests near Tangier and Nador, where they waited to cross the Mediterranean sea to reach Europe. 

Mixed migration
Migration in West and North Africa

30 November 2018

Migration in West and North Africa

DOCUMENT / PDF / 855 KB

These scenarios consider how migration dynamics within and via West and North Africa (including across the Mediterranean Sea) might evolve in the first half of 2019 and the potential humanitarian consequences. The aim is to support strategic planning, create awareness and promote preparedness activities for policymakers and other actors working on migration.

Mixed migration
View more