Late on Friday, a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of about 7 struck Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, killing at least 632 people and destroying numerous structures.
According to an updated report from the Interior Ministry, 329 people were hurt in addition to the fatalities.
Many of the victims were found in difficult-to-access remote mountainous areas. Marrakech, a well-known city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, was hardest hit by the earthquake.
A historic mosque’s minaret was among the structures that collapsed, crushing cars below. The disaster claimed five members of just one family, according to the report.
According to the Interior Ministry’s televised update, the affected provinces are Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant.
A local from the Asni village, which is close to the epicenter of the earthquake, named Montasir Itri, described the destruction in his community. “Most of the houses here are damaged,” he said. Everyone is doing their best to assist with whatever tools they have because we have neighbors trapped under the rubble.
Residents reported aftershocks in the aftermath. A teacher from Taroudant named Hamid Afkar recalled, “The earthquake lasted for about 20 seconds. As I hurried downstairs, doors were opening and closing on their own.
The US Geological Survey recorded a magnitude of 6.8 while Morocco’s geophysical center assigned it a magnitude of 7.2.
It had an average depth of 18.5 km. The tremor was felt around 11 PM local time in Ighil, which is about 70 km southwest of Marrakech.
Since a previous earthquake that caused over 600 fatalities in 2004 in Morocco, this one has been the most destructive.
43-year-old Marrakech resident Houda Hafsi described her experience: “The chandelier fell, and I ran. I’m still outside with my kids because we’re scared. Dalila Fahem, a different resident, added that she had noticed damage to her furniture and wall cracks.
People fled their homes out of fear of further tremors as far away as Imsouane, 180 kilometers west, and Rabat, 350 kilometers north of the epicenter.
Videos that were posted to social media during the earthquake’s aftermath. They displayed locals hurrying from restaurants, shopping malls, and apartments to gather outside.
Hundreds of people killed after a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Morocco overnight – the strongest in 123 years. pic.twitter.com/3muUssmoX2
— Nwa ❤️ (@Nwaadaz) September 9, 2023
This is the moment a an entire building Collapsed in Morocco after the 6.8 Magnitude struck the country. Many have been reported dead and some injured. pic.twitter.com/NCFPNgnLqD
— Cypy The Great (@Cypy254) September 9, 2023
— Muhammad Arif Khan (@M_Arif61) September 9, 2023
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