Morocco Food Stampede Leaves 15 Dead and a Country Shaken

12:54 PM Aida Alami 0 Comments

MARRAKESH, Morocco — At least 15 women died and five were wounded in a stampede during a food distribution operation on Sunday morning in rural Morocco, government officials said.
The victims were crushed as hundreds of people, mostly women, gathered to collect baskets of food at the market of a small town, Sidi Boulaalam, according to news accounts. The town is about 40 miles from the coastal city of Essaouira.

In the aftermath of the stampede, clothes and other personal items were left scattered across the ground.

It is unclear what led to the stampede. The Moroccan Interior Ministry, which reported the death toll, said it had opened an investigation. The donor who organized the food distribution has not been publicly identified.

Morocco, with a population of 35 million, is generally regarded as much healthier economically than neighboring countries. According to the World Bank, its poverty rate fell to 4.2 percent in 2014, and tourism remains a robust part of the economy.

But that can mask the conditions in rural areas like Sidi Boulaalam, where things are far more dire. Nearly 19 percent of the rural population lives in poverty, and about 15.5 percent of Moroccans live on about $3 a day.

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