TAMPA, Fla. — The deadly 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Morocco is top of mind for one Tampa man and his family.
As of now, there have been nearly 3,000 people reported and thousands more are hurt.
"Our brothers and sisters back home are suffering as we speak," Mustapha Bahij of Tampa said.
Bahij was born in Morocco but left in 1998. Tampa became his home a few years ago, but he still visits Morocco often.
He and his wife, a doctor, are raising money through GoFundMe to help victims and their families. Collected donations will help cover medical emergencies, supplies, medicine, food and temporary shelters through connections he has with medical staff in Marrakech.
The earthquake is affecting remote areas in the Atlas Mountains, which only makes access to help more difficult. Anger and frustration have grown from survivors over the government's slow response.
Bahij said the communities in more difficult-to-reach areas affected are generous and warm. It's part of their culture to support each other. He adds they may not have as much money to begin with, but are always willing to give anything they have to people in need.
For Bahij, he said the most difficult part has been being unable to help in person.
"I just had to do something. I mean, thank God, we have some connections," he said. "You cannot just sit and do nothing."
None of Bahij's immediate family has been affected, but he said he has friends whose families are from the remote villages. He stays in touch with loved ones and gets updates through social media.
While his efforts to help Morocco are giving some comfort, Bahij said it's heartbreaking to process the pain the country is going through.
If you'd like to help out with Bahij's GoFundMe, visit this link.
For a list of resources helping victims and survivors of the earthquake, visit this link.