We were tasked to complete a needs assessment of a tented community that consists of the displaced people from the devastated villages of Adouz and Asif.

During the overall assessment, specific needs were identified for a family with a set of 2 week old newborn twins. We split the team so that the main assessment task could continue, whilst myself and our interpreter Yousef could stay with the family and carry out a hasty medical assessment of the babies.

The family were extremely welcoming and the mother of the twins expressed her worry, that whilst her daughter Yasmine was thriving, her son Oussma was only drinking very small quantities of milk and had experienced episodes of vomiting after feeding. The mother was unable to breastfeed her babies and was relying on a single tub of Stage 1 baby powdered milk.

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Salisbury Journal: Sarah Gill meeting mother and babies assessing needsSarah Gill meeting mother and babies assessing needs (Image: REACT)

These twins experienced an earthquake at just one week old and were now living in cramped, temporary tents with only basic facilities. They were also tiny - born smaller than average in body weight. It was clear that Yasmine and Oussma were extremely vulnerable.

With immediate needs rapidly identified, we linked up with a French nurse who was able to provide us with infant hydration medication. She also ensured that we received nappies, baby wipes and clean baby bottles from local NGO AFCD’s logistic drop in the village.

We returned to the twins and their family, showing and supporting the mother in how to give the rehydration fluids, whilst efforts continued at AFCD warehouse to source more baby powder, as this was a critical need.

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The next day, we were tasked with more needs assessments higher up in the Atlas Mountains and to deliver the batch of milk powder for the twins, which was conveniently on route.

Oussma was much better, had been drinking his hydration fluids well and was drinking milk without a problem. It was such a relief to hear. We delivered the milk powder and AFCD has plans in place to resupply the family in the coming days.

The family were so very thankful for our presence and help.

To me, this has been such a significant moment. Team work, diversity, cultural respect and a natural drive to help people, all coming together. Ultimately, a medical need has been addressed, one which had the potential to become a life threatening condition. But further than that, a critical need has not only been noted and resupplied, but now has ongoing management via our local Moroccan partners, AFCD.

Hardest to reach, most vulnerable.

Morocco Earthquake Appeal: re-act.org.uk/morocco-earthquake-appeal

Written by Sarah Mcbride, REACT Responder and team medic