Algeria opens airspace for humanitarian flights to Morocco after earthquake

Christopher Moswitzer /

Algeria has announced the reopening of its airspace to humanitarian flights destined for Morocco following a devastating earthquake that struck the country. 

On September 8, 2023, at 23:11 local time, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 struck Amizmiz in the Atlas region of Morocco, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) southwest of Marrakech. According to the latest provisional report, communicated by Morocco’s Ministry of Interior, 2,500 people died in the most violent earthquake the country has experienced. 

Algeria’s announcement that it would be reopening its airspace came through an official statement from the presidency, accompanied by an offer of assistance to its neighbor in times of crisis. 

“The senior Algerian authorities have […] decided to open the airspace to flights for the transport of humanitarian aid and the wounded,” the statement read, adding that the country was “fully prepared to provide humanitarian aid and to mobilize all material and human resources in solidarity with the brotherly Moroccan people, in the event of a request of the Kingdom of Morocco.” 

At the time this article was published, the Kingdom of Morocco had not reacted to the Algerian offer. 

This move marks a significant shift from the diplomatic tension that had previously strained relations between Algeria and Morocco. On September 22, 2021, a month after breaking off diplomatic ties with its neighboring nation, Algeria closed its airspace to all Moroccan civil and military aircraft amid a diplomatic crisis between the two North African nations. The long-standing rivalry between the two Maghreb countries had intensified over disputes concerning the Western Sahara, ultimately leading to land border closures in 1994. 

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