PH ready to send aid to quake-hit Morocco

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — The Philippines is ready to send a humanitarian mission to Morocco after the recent magnitude 6.8 earthquake that killed thousands in the country, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said Saturday.

In a statement, Civil Defense Administrator and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno said the country sympathizes with all affected communities in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco

"We are looking into the possible deployment of the Philippine Inter-Agency Humanitarian Contingent (PIAHC) to Morocco. The OCD, as the executive arm of NDRRMC, is already making arrangements for this," he said.

More than 2,000 people died after the powerful earthquake struck on Sept. 8. It was the strongest in more than a century, with the epicenter not far from the popular tourist and economic hub Marrakech. 

"We are deeply saddened by the aftermath of the earthquake that hit Morocco. We want to assure Morocco that the Philippines is more than willing to extend assistance to support the ongoing response operations. We are organizing a humanitarian contingent for possible deployment," Nepomuceno added.

READ: What we know about the Morocco earthquake

The team will include personnel from the OCD, 525th Engineering Combat Battalion-Philippine Army, 505th Search and Rescue Group-Philippine Air Force, Bureau of Fire Protection-Special Rescue Unit, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Davao Rescue 911, and the Department of Health.