Publication Date November 19, 2017

15 trampled to death in stampede for flour in drought-stricken Morocco

Women fill containers with water from a hose in Zagora, Morocco. Experts blame poor choices in agriculture, population growth and climate change for water shortages. Photo: Issam Oukhouya, Associated Press

They had traveled for miles to get to a remote village in drought-devastated Morocco for one reason: A local aid group was handing out flour.

The North African nation is in the grip of a severe drought, which is having a devastating effect on agriculture. And Sunday’s giveaway at the souk, or marketplace, was a chance for people to take food home to hungry families — if they could nab supplies before they ran out.

Videos and photos from the scene in Sidi Boulalam showed a press of people crowding the marketplace with no place to move.


The Moroccan government has long been searching for answers to the country’s drought, which has decimated two straight harvests.

Last year, wheat and barley production in Morocco was at its lowest level in a decade, according to World Grain, an industry magazine. The shortage was due to “inadequate rainfall during the planting season and the shortage of rain during the critical months of February and March.”