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Morocco announces revision of the law on drilling wells

The events with the child Rayan have opened the debate in the House of Representatives on the regulation of wells
Image of the well in Morocco

PHOTO/AFP  -   Image of the well in Morocco

Morocco continues to mourn the death of the child Rayan who fell into a well a few days ago. The event has mobilised the whole of Moroccan society, even reaching the highest levels of the nation and the world. Now, after learning of the child's death, politicians have announced a tightening of regulations on the drilling of wells. 

Noureddine Moudian, president of the Istiqlali group, spoke during a session in the Kingdom's House of Representatives about the tragic accident, urging a reconsideration of the laws governing drilling. In his own words, "we must put an end to and issue more restrictive measures against those who do not comply with the current regulations and carry out illegal wells".

Opposition MP Abderrahim Chahid took the opportunity to remind the House that both the Interior Ministry and the government itself have begun to take measures to prevent another such catastrophe. "It is our duty to alert the authorities and make citizens aware of the danger that anarchic wells pose to the lives of citizens and even animals. Things are not yet clear to take legislative action on this issue," said Chahid. 

Trabajos de búsqueda del niño Rayan
PHOTO/AFP - Search work for Rayan child

Concerns about abandoned wells and that something similar could happen again are putting a strain on measures to halt their construction or even remove existing ones. Chahid says there are existing laws against them, but they need to be further updated for better enforcement "especially with regard to unused wells". The parliamentarian adds that the construction of these boreholes occurs mainly in the southern regions, where drought is the cause of much devastation and some citizens are forced to make the illegal process, which they then abandon.

On the other hand, and after all the commotion caused, the Moroccan authorities have already announced that they are looking for the main people responsible for the construction of this well, and for some others in the area. The Ministry of the Interior has already opened an investigation in which, according to local sources in the area where the events occurred, marijuana plantations and drug trafficking take place in the area, and the drilling of these wells is supposedly used to irrigate cannabis crops. 

Rayan, a five-year-old boy who was playing with his father near Inghran, the town where they lived, fell down a well 32 metres deep and 45 centimetres wide at the beginning of this month. A massive rescue operation was quickly deployed. Apparently, during the first few days of the operation, the little boy was still alive, so the authorities were looking for the best way to rescue him and administered oxygen and water.

Personas pendientes del rescate del niño Rayan
PHOTO/AFP - People watching the rescue of child Rayan

Initially, an attempt was made to enlarge the pit into which Rayan had fallen, but to no avail, so another parallel pit was drilled. This had to be done with the utmost care because the type of soil in the area, a combination of sand and rock, is very unstable and any landslide or poorly executed step could endanger the life of the little boy or further slow down the rescue.

After four days of exhaustive work, mobilising both the Moroccans and the whole world, rescuers found the lifeless body of Rayan, who apparently could not stay alive and died hours before he was found. The event has led to the mobilisation of hundreds of people who went to the area to pray for the young man's life, as well as millions of citizens around the world who took to social media to support the family under the hashtag #SaveRayan and followed the whole process first-hand.