A devastating earthquake has claimed the lives of over 800 individuals, leaving hundreds more injured in Morocco, according to Reuters. The tremor has caused extensive damage to buildings and has prompted residents in major cities to hastily evacuate their homes. This earthquake stands as the deadliest in the country in over sixty years.
Late on Friday night, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. According to an updated casualty toll provided by the Interior Ministry, 820 individuals have lost their lives and 672 others have been injured. According to a local official, the majority of fatalities occurred in remote mountainous regions that posed significant accessibility challenges.
In Marrakech, the closest major city to the epicentre, the residents spent the night outdoors, fearful of returning to their homes.
The buildings located in the old city, which is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, have unfortunately incurred damage. In the heart of Marrakech’s old city, Jemaa al-Fna Square, a minaret of a mosque has fallen. The rescue workers diligently sifted through the debris.
Miloud Skrout, a resident, expressed that while everything is ultimately determined by God’s will, they have unfortunately suffered significant harm.
“Everything is by God’s will, but we sustained great harm,” he told Reuters
Approximately 150 individuals, primarily relatives of the injured, were gathered outside a nearby hospital, patiently awaiting updates on their loved ones. Many people had come from the mountainous areas outside the city because their local hospitals did not have the capacity to treat serious injuries.
Jaouhari Mohamed, a resident of Marrakech’s old city, told Reuters, “I still can’t sleep in the house because of the shock and also because the old town is made up of old houses.” Mohamed was describing the desperate scenes as people fled for safety.
Governments from various countries have shown solidarity and extended their support by offering assistance. Turkey, a country that experienced devastating earthquakes in February resulting in the loss of over 50,000 lives, has expressed its readiness to offer assistance.
The last earthquake in the country dates back to 2004 when at least 628 people were killed and 926 injured in Hoceima, northeastern Morocco.
The annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are scheduled to take place in Marrakech in early October.
Amina Hilda contributed to this report