More Than 2,000 dead from the Morocco earthquake


More than 2,000 people have died as a result of a powerful earthquake in Morocco, with a similar number injured.

According to the interior ministry, over 1,400 people have been seriously injured, with the majority of casualties occurring in provinces just south of Marrakesh.

King Mohammed VI declared three days of national mourning and directed that survivors be provided with shelter, food, and other necessities.

Many people are staying out in the open for a second night.

On Friday night, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck Marrakesh and several nearby towns. Entire villages have been reported to have been flattened in remote mountain areas.

The epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71 kilometres (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh, a popular tourist destination with world heritage status.

The tremors were felt in Rabat, 350 kilometres away, as well as Casablanca, Agadir, and Essaouira.

According to the interior ministry, the province of Al Haouz has the highest death toll, followed by Taroudant. Marrakesh has far fewer fatalities, despite the fact that the Unesco-protected old city has been severely damaged.

Many simple mud brick, stone, and timber homes in mountain villages are expected to have collapsed, but the extent of devastation in remote areas will take some time to assess.

Mountain villages in mourning
‘It was total chaos,’ say earthquake survivors.
In photographs: Marrakesh’s historic district has been damaged.
A powerful earthquake of this magnitude is unusual in Morocco.
According to BBC correspondent Nick Beake, when he arrived in one of these villages, an elderly woman was sobbing because 18 bodies had been discovered there.

Many people are camping there for the night, he says, because they are afraid of aftershocks. They claim to be in desperate need of food and water. However, such locations are difficult to reach, with mountain roads littered with rocks and other debris, making access difficult for emergency services.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI
King Mohammed VI presided over an emergency meeting with officials to coordinate rescue and aid efforts.
Flags will be flown at half-mast on all public buildings in the country for the next three days, according to a statement from the royal palace.

The king has directed that the armed forces assist rescue teams, and Moroccans are donating blood as part of the country’s effort to assist victims.

It was Morocco’s deadliest earthquake since a 6.7-magnitude quake devastated Agadir in 1960, killing over 12,000 people.

The earthquake on Friday was also the most powerful to strike Morocco in over a century.

The UN said it was ready to assist Morocco’s government in its rescue efforts, and similar pledges have come from Spain, France, and Israel.

Algeria, which has had a tense relationship with Morocco in recent years, is now opening its airspace to humanitarian flights to Morocco.

Rescue workers have been searching through rubble.
When the earthquake struck at night, many families were trapped.

Montasir Itri, who lives in the mountain village of Asni, close to the epicentre, told Reuters: “Our neighbours are under the rubble, and people are working hard to rescue them using available means in the village.”

Houda Outassaf was walking around Marrakesh’s Jemaa el-Fna Square when he felt the ground begin to shake.

“At least ten members of my family have died… “I can’t believe it, because I was just with them two days ago,” he told the AFP news agency.

In Jemaa el-Fna Square, a mosque minaret collapsed, and many narrow streets in the city’s old Medina were filled with rubble.

41 thoughts on “More Than 2,000 dead from the Morocco earthquake

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