Strong Earthquake Kills Scores In Morocco

Strong Earthquake Kills Scores In Morocco

The High Atlas highlands of Morocco were hit by a strong earthquake late on Friday, killing more than 800 people.

Buildings were demolished, and residents fled their houses when the earthquake struck shortly after 11 p.m. (10 p.m. GMT), injuring a total of 672 additional people, including 205 critically injured.

Morocco’s Interior Ministry announced on Saturday morning that at least 820 people had perished, the majority in Marrakech and five nearby provinces.

As rescuers strive to reach outlying locations on Saturday and search through the debris, the death toll is anticipated to grow.

University College London’s Bill McGuire, a professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards, stated: “I would expect the eventual death toll to reach into the thousands once more is known.

“As with any major earthquake, aftershocks are likely, which will increase casualties and make it more difficult to conduct search and rescue operations.”

The recent earthquake in Morocco was the most severe to occur in 120 years.

The UK is assisting British nationals in the area, according to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

He posted a message on the social networking platform X saying, “We stand ready to aid our Moroccan friends in whatever manner we can.

Locals in Marrakech, the closest major city to the centre, reported some structures collapsing in the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The iconic Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, which was constructed in the 12th century, sustained damage, but it was unclear how much.

The “roof of Marrakech” is the term used to describe its 69-meter (226-foot) minaret.

The well-known red walls that surround the ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, were also damaged, as Moroccans posted videos of the devastation online.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.2, according to Morocco’s geophysical institute, and it occurred in the High Atlas region near Ighil.

The earthquake was reportedly at a relatively shallow depth of 18.5 km (11.5 miles), according to the US Geological Survey, which gave it a magnitude of 6.8.

A collapsed mosque minaret with debris laying on crumpled cars was depicted on local television.

Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant provinces were all affected by the earthquake, according to the Interior Ministry’s televised statement on the dead toll.

The mayor of a town close to the epicentre of the earthquake reported to Moroccan news site 2M that some homes in other towns had partially or completely fallen and that electricity and roads had been cut off in several areas.

The mayor of Talat N’Yaaqoub, Abderrahim Ait Daoud, stated that while efforts are being made to clear roads in Al Haouz Province so that ambulances may pass, it would take some time to determine the extent of the damage due to the distances between the mountain settlements.

The Moroccan military and emergency services mobilised relief operations to the areas affected by damages.

According to local media, highways leading to the mountain region surrounding the epicentre were congested with vehicles and obstructed by crumbled rocks, impeding rescue efforts.

According to the government news agency MAP, trucks were on their way to the area with supplies like camp cots, blankets, and lighting equipment.

The majority of the homes in Asni, a mountain community close to the epicentre, were damaged, according to Montasir Itri.

“Our neighbours are under the debris, and people are working hard to rescue them using tools that are available in the village,” he said.

Teacher Hamid Afkar reported that he had left his home and felt earthquakes further west, close to Taroudant.

For nearly 20 seconds, the earth trembled. Doors automatically opened and closed as I hurried from the second floor, he remarked.

Since over 600 people were murdered in a quake in Al Hoceima in the northern Rif mountains in 2004, this earthquake has become the deadliest in Morocco.

According to a statement from Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the UN, the organisation was prepared to support the Moroccan government’s efforts to aid the affected populace.

According to Marrakech resident Id Waaziz Hassan, parts of the densely packed old city’s houses had collapsed, and as they waited for heavy machinery, individuals laboured arduously to clear the wreckage by hand.

Ambulances were seen leaving the old town, and many building facades were damaged, according to Brahim Himmi, another resident of Marrakech.

In case of a second earthquake, he claimed that people were terrified and were staying outside.

“I fled the room after the chandelier fell from the ceiling. Houda Hafsi, 43, from Marrakech stated, “I’m still in the street with my kids and we’re afraid.

According to Reuters witnesses, residents of the Moroccan capital Rabat, which is located approximately 350 kilometres to the north of Ighil, and the coastal town of Imsouane, which is situated about 180 km to the west of Ighil, also left their homes out of concern for a stronger earthquake.

People who spent the night in the streets of Casablanca, which is located about 250 kilometres north of Ighil, were too terrified to go inside their houses.

Mohamed Taqafi, a resident, recalled how the home violently rocked and how terrified everyone was.

Because my house is ancient and fragile, I initially believed that it was the only one that was shifting.

Everyone left their homes once I heard screams.

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