Earthquake strikes Morocco, claiming hundreds of lives
A powerful earthquake shook the rugged terrain of Morocco's High Atlas mountains, leaving in its wake a preliminary count of at least 632 lives tragically lost and a landscape marked by widespread structural devastation.
A devastating earthquake rocked the High Atlas mountains in Morocco late on Friday, resulting in a preliminary death toll of at least 632 people and causing extensive damage to buildings. This catastrophe also forced residents of major cities to hastily evacuate their homes.
According to the Interior Ministry, the reported death toll is preliminary, with 153 reported injuries. A local official mentioned that the majority of fatalities occurred in remote mountainous regions that were challenging to access.
In Marrakech, the nearest major city to the earthquake's epicenter, residents reported the collapse of some buildings within the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Local television broadcasts displayed images of a mosque minaret that had crumbled, causing debris to land on damaged cars.
During their televised announcement regarding the death toll, the Interior Ministry appealed for calm and disclosed that the earthquake had impacted several provinces, including Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant.
Montasir Itri, a resident of the mountain village of Asni located near the epicenter of the earthquake, reported that the majority of houses in the area had suffered damage, as per Reuters. He expressed the grim situation, saying, "Our neighbors are trapped beneath the rubble, and the community is making strenuous efforts to rescue them, utilizing the resources available within the village."
OnlinePalEng: A powerful #earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 has hit Morocco, killing at least 296 people and injuring more than 150.— Richard Hardigan (@RichardHardigan) September 9, 2023
Our hearts are with our brothers and sisters in #Morocco 🇲🇦🇵🇸 pic.twitter.com/4ce2aqfboe
Morocco's geophysical center reported that the earthquake occurred in the Ighil region of the High Atlas mountains, reporting a magnitude of 7.2. According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake's magnitude was slightly lower at 6.8 and occurred at a relatively shallow depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles).
Ighil, characterized by its mountainous terrain and small farming communities, is situated approximately 70 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Marrakech. The earthquake struck just after 11 p.m. (2200 GMT).
This earthquake marks Morocco's deadliest since a 2004 tremor near Al Hoceima in the northern Rif mountains, which claimed the lives of over 600 people.
In Marrakech, certain buildings in the densely populated historic city center had crumbled, and residents were making strenuous efforts manually to clear the rubble while awaiting the arrival of heavy machinery, as reported by Reuters, citing a resident named Id Waaziz Hassan.
Video footage of the ancient city's fortifications revealed substantial fractures in one section and portions that had collapsed, resulting in debris strewn across the streets.
Earthquake Morocco Richter 6.8#marrakech #agadir #casablanca #fes#مراكش #فاس #أغادير #الدار_البيضاء#moroccoearthquake #morocco #earthquakemorocco #earthquake#زلزال_المغرب #هزة_أرضية pic.twitter.com/EXBcv4rw17— Jalal (@jalaloni) September 8, 2023
Reports from Reuters witnesses indicated that people in Rabat, situated approximately 350 kilometers (220 miles) north of Ighil, as well as in the coastal town of Imsouane, located about 180 kilometers to the west, evacuated their residences out of concern for the possibility of a more powerful earthquake.