A powerful earthquake struck Morocco late Friday night, killing over 800 people and damaging buildings from villages in the Atlas Mountains to the historic city of Marrakech.
The full toll is unknown as rescuers struggled to get through boulder-strewn roads to the remote mountain villages hit hardest. People woken by the quake ran into the streets in terror and disbelief, with dishes and wall hangings raining down and people being knocked off their feet and chairs.
The magnitude 6.8 earthquake in Marrakech, Morocco, has caused widespread panic and destruction. The earthquake, which hit the country in 120 years, was the hardest to hit in the country’s history, toppling buildings and walls in ancient cities made from stone and masonry not designed to withstand quakes. Many buildings collapsed due to their inability to cope with strong ground shaking, resulting in high casualties.
The final death toll is expected to rise into the thousands once more information is known. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI ordered the armed forces to mobilize air and land assets, specialized search and rescue teams, and a surgical field hospital. Despite numerous offers of help, the Moroccan government has not formally requested assistance, a step required before outside rescue crews could deploy.
The 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, known as the “roof of Marrakech,” has been damaged, with its 69-meter minaret and parts of the famous red walls surrounding the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, being damaged.
At least 820 people have died in a earthquake in Morocco, primarily in Marrakech and five provinces near the epicenter. The Interior Ministry reported that 672 people were injured, with 205 seriously injured. Rescuers worked through the night searching for survivors in darkness, dust, and rubble. The village of Moulay Brahim, carved into a mountainside south of Marrakech, was uninhabitable due to crumbling walls, windows, and the collapse of over a dozen homes. At least five residents were trapped.
Ayoub Toudite, a gym member, described the situation as “doomsday” and described 20 deaths and 30 injuries. Rescuers used hammers and axes to free a trapped man, who was given water by those able to squeeze into the space. The head of a town near the epicenter reported that several homes in nearby towns had partially or totally collapsed, and electricity and roads were cut off in some places.
Moroccan authorities are clearing roads in Al Haouz Province to allow ambulances and aid to affected populations. However, large distances between mountain villages mean it will take time to determine the extent of the damage.
The Moroccan military has deployed aircraft, helicopters, drones, and emergency services to aid affected areas. However, roads leading to the mountain region around the epicenter are jammed with vehicles and blocked by collapsed rocks, slowing rescue efforts. Trucks are trying to reach the affected area.
A massive earthquake in Morocco has left over 4.5 million people dead and injured. The earthquake, which struck near the town of Ighil in Al Haouz Province, had a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 and an aftershock of 4.9. The epicenter was 18 kilometers below the Earth’s surface, while Morocco’s seismic agency reported it at 11 kilometers.
The earthquake was triggered by a massive earthquake that had impacted the region, known for its scenic villages and valleys in the High Atlas. World leaders, including Turkey’s president, France, Germany, and Ukraine and Russia, have offered aid and support to the affected areas.
The earthquake has caused severe damage and deaths throughout the Marrakech-Safi region, which is home to over 4.5 million people. World leaders have offered to send aid or rescue crews as condolences pour in from countries around Europe, the Middle East, and a Group of 20 summit in India.
North Africa experienced its strongest earthquake ever recorded, according to Lahcen Mhanni, Head of the Seismic Monitoring and Warning Department at the National Institute of Geophysics.