Rescue workers carry a woman who was injured by an aftershock, in the town of Imi N'tala, outside Marrakech, Morocco, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. An aftershock rattled central Morocco on Wednesday, striking fear into rescue crews at work in High Atlas villages, digging people out from rubble that could slide. Credit: AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy

In the wake of natural disasters that have devastated parts of Libya and Morocco and killed thousands of people, Minnesotans have pitched in to aid in relief efforts. Here’s how you can help. 

What happened in Libya?

Rescuers and relatives of victims set up tents in front of collapsed buildings in Derna, Libya, on Sept. 18, 2023. Credit: AP Photo/Muhammad J. Elalwany, File

On Sept. 11, heavy rains overwhelmed two dams, causing deadly flooding in eastern Libya. In Derna, floods overtook as much as a quarter of the city, destroying whole neighborhoods and sweeping people out to sea.

The flooding has displaced at least 40,000 people, and the death toll is estimated to be between 4,000 and 11,000.

What happened in Morocco?

People observe the wreckage that was caused by earthquake, in the town of Imi N’tala, outside Marrakech, Morocco, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. Credit: AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy

On Sept. 8, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Morocco, followed by a 4.9 magnitude aftershock. The earthquake destroyed entire villages close to its epicenter in the Atlas Mountains and left parts of Marrakech, Morocco’s fourth-largest city, severely damaged.

The earthquake affected an estimated 300,000 people and killed more than 2,900.

Where can I donate?

Children walk through the rubble of their town of Amizmiz which was damaged by the earthquake, outside Marrakech, Morocco, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023. Credit: AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies released $1.1 million from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to support relief efforts in Morocco and is looking to raise $112 million more.

Islamic Relief has pledged an initial $122,000 to provide emergency aid in Libya and is seeking donations. Islamic Relief is also appealing for $12.2 million to help earthquake survivors in Morocco.

UNICEF has made appeals for donations to provide aid to Libya and Morocco.

Here are some examples of Minnesotans who supported relief efforts after hearing about these natural disasters.

Minnesota Mosque organizes fundraising

Sarah Alam, a former board member at Northwest Islamic Community Center (NWICC) in Plymouth, said hearing about these crises brought tears to her eyes. As a human and Muslim, she felt the need to help those in need.

Alam, along with NWICC board members, worked with Islamic Relief to raise funds for Libya and Morocco. During their Sept. 15 Friday prayer, they passed out fliers with QR codes directing people to where they could donate.

Local small business raises funds

Redwolf Chai, a small business selling chai, announced it will be donating $1,000 to relief efforts for Libya and Morocco.

According to co-founder Mohamed Yousif, last weekend Redwolf decided to put up signs telling customers 15 percent of its total sales and all tips would go toward aiding Morocco and Libya. 

“What we noticed is that a lot of people were very receptive to the idea,” Yousif said. “Some people were donating almost triple the amount they were spending with us.”

Yousif said he noticed some customers knew about the earthquake in Morocco, but weren’t aware of the flooding in Libya. 

“We really also wanted to use our platform to educate people about what’s going on in Libya as well as what’s going on in Morocco,” Yousif said.

Yousif said he was hopeful Redwolf’s customers’ support for their business would extend to those in need in Morocco and Libya.

“It was amazing, just a small company like ours that operates out of farmers markets was able to raise $1,000 in 7-8 hours over a weekend,” Yousif said.

The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.

Gustav DeMars is a reporting intern with Sahan Journal. He is studying journalism and Spanish at the University of Minnesota.