RABAT: Morocco plans to spend at least US$11.7 billion in a post-earthquake reconstruction plan over the next five years, the royal palace said on Wednesday.

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck on Sept 8, killing more than 2,900 people, mostly in the hard-to-reach villages of the High Atlas mountains.

The plan would target 4.2 million people in the worst-hit provinces of Al Haouz, Chichaoua, Taroudant, Marrakech, Ouarzazate, and Azizlal, the royal palace said, following a meeting of King Mohammed VI with government and army officials.

The plan covers re-housing and the upgrade of infrastructure in a way that is conducive to social and economic development in the quake-hit areas, it said in the statement.

The quake-stricken areas are among Morocco’s poorest, with many remote villages lacking proper roads and public services.

The royal palace said the plan would be financed by the government’s budget, international aid, and by a fund set up in response to the quake.

The fund has so far received some US$700 million in donations.

Last week, the palace said that 50,000 houses were known to have been damaged and that authorities would provide shelter and US$2,920 to affected households. It also pledged to offer reconstruction aid of US$13,630 for collapsed homes and US$7,700 for damaged ones. - Reuters

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