At Least 17 Killed in Stampede During Aid Distribution in Morocco

All of the victims were women, local news reports

An October 2017 file photo of Moroccan women filling up containers with water from a hose, in Zagora, southeastern Morocco, which has recently seen protests for access to clean water. At least 17 people have died and 40 injured in a stampede on Sunday Nov. 19, 2017 as food aid was being distributed in the village of Sidi Boulalam, in the southern province of Essaouira
Issam Oukhouya/AP

At least 17 people were killed and 40 injured in Morocco on Sunday in a stampede as food aid was being distributed in a southern village, a local youth association said.

All of the victims were women, according to Moroccan news portal Hespress.

The incident occurred in the village of Sidi Boualem in the southern province of Essaouira, where a large crowd of people were scrambling to receive food handouts from a benefactor, Rachid al- Wasat, head of the provincial youth association, told DPA. "There was no proper organization during the distribution process, resulting in this disaster," he said.

Initial reports said that at least 15 people had been killed and four others injured as more than 1,000 people jostled for food aid. Forty others lost consciousness due to overcrowding.

Food aid campaigns are common in remote, poor areas of Morocco.