A resident of the Marrakesh-Asfi region walks through the rubble caused by the country’s worst earthquake in the 21st century. Taken by Simon Speakman Cordall for Al Jazeera

Over 2,900 people were reportedly killed after Morocco was slammed by the country’s deadliest earthquake in over 60 years. The earthquake, which peaked at a magnitude of 6.8, was centered in the Marrakesh-Asfi region in western Morocco. The quake left 5,530 injured and 100,000 children and 200,000 adults affected. NBC reported it was so strong that it was felt in Spain, Portugal, and Algeria. 

The Moroccan search and rescue teams ventured into the rural, mountainous areas and concluded that over 2,800 of those killed were buried in the rubble. In the meantime, the government announced a three-day period of mourning for all Moroccans. The government accepted search and rescue teams, medical professionals, vehicles, ambulances, and dogs from the United Kingdom, Qatar, Spain, and the UAE. Numerous other world governments including France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Tunisia, and Algeria offered their help but Moroccan officials either put them on hold or didn’t respond. Even five days after the quake, the government chose not to contact the United Nations, who said they would send teams to Morocco within 12 to 24 hours of their request.

International commentators were surprised by this move and some speculated it had to do with Morocco’s move to devalue French in its educational curricula, due to the increasingly popular belief that French is an outdated symbol of wealth. 

Abdelmalek Alaoui, president of Morocco’s Institute of Strategic Intelligence, told Al Jazeera he believes “there is no geopolitics. We have concerns that if you get too much aid … it will create bottlenecks and this will be very complicated to handle. All international aid is welcome in Morocco, but it has to be organized and has to come in a proper way. You only have one road, you have a very long column of logistics now trying to get there. You have to make sure the aid is not adding a problem to a problem.”

Fundraisers have raised millions and funded relief efforts, regardless of the government’s decisions. The Moroccan diaspora, notably in France and Spain, has shown incredible solidarity with their community and have turned their politicians’ and social media’s attention to the tragedy. As professionals continue to search for missing people, it’s important to support those grieving and rebuilding around the world.