At least 820 people were confirmed killed in a strong earthquake that struck Morocco. The epicenter of the earthquake is a mountainous area between Marrakesh and Agadir.
A strong earthquake struck the Atlas Mountains in Marrakesh on Friday evening. The epicenter of the earthquake was about 72 kilometers from Marrakesh, which has a population of 840,000 and is a popular tourist destination.
The earthquake claimed the lives of 820 people in the provinces and municipalities of Al Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant, according to a statement from the ministry. 329 wounded were recorded and taken to hospital, according to what Reuters reported on a Moroccan television channel.
The newspaper wrote that the Marrakesh Blood Donation Center encourages citizens to come to the center to donate blood for the benefit of the victims Al Jazeera.
The Ministry of the Interior in Rabat announced the first official figures a few hours after the earthquake that struck the Atlas Mountains. According to the ministry, this is a preliminary number.
Run out to the streets
A local official said that most of the dead were found in difficult-to-reach mountainous areas.
On social media, people reported damage to buildings throughout the night. People posted videos showing frightened residents running into the streets and buildings shaking.
Several people reported to the European Earthquake Centre EMSC About how the earthquake felt. Some say they could feel the quake as far away as southern Spain, Portugal and Algeria.
This was confirmed by the Algerian Civil Defense and Portuguese seismic experts.
The old city is on the World Heritage List
Residents of Marrakesh, the closest major city to the epicenter, said buildings collapsed in the Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On Saturday evening, local television there showed pictures of a minaret that had fallen from a mosque and the wreckage of a building lying on top of smashed cars.
A resident of Marrakesh, Eid Aziz Hassan, says that during the night people used only their hands to remove pieces of collapsed buildings, while they waited for heavy machinery to arrive.
Television images showed that part of the wall of the Old City had cracks, and parts of the wall had separated.
A resident of Marrakesh, Ibrahim Himi, said that he saw ambulances leaving the old city, and that he saw destruction on the facades of many buildings. He says people were afraid and stayed outside in case there were more earthquakes.
– The chandelier fell from the ceiling and ran out. I’m still standing on the road outside with my children and we are afraid, says 43-year-old Hoda Hafsi in Marrakesh.
Another woman in the town, Dalila Fahim, said that cracks appeared in the walls of her house and her furniture was destroyed.
– Fortunately, I haven’t gone to bed yet, she says.
– It lies under the rubble
People living in the capital, Rabat, in the north of the country, and in the coastal city of Imsouane, also felt the shaking well. There, people ran into the streets for fear of the possibility of more earthquakes, according to eyewitnesses Reuters spoke to.
Montaser Otri, who lives in the mountainous village of Asni near the epicenter of the earthquake, says that most of the houses there were destroyed.
– He says: – Our neighbors are under the rubble and the people are working hard to save them using all the means available to us in the village.
To the west, near Taroudant, teacher Hamid Afkar says he quickly left his house, and that there were many aftershocks after the first earthquake.
– The ground shook for about 20 seconds. Afkar says the doors opened and closed on their own as I descended from the second floor.
Strength not less than 6.8
European Earthquake Centre EMSC The US Seismological Center measured the earthquake’s magnitude at 6.9 and at a depth of 10 kilometers US Geological Survey I measured it at 6.8. According to the US Geological Survey, the depth of the earthquake was 18.5 kilometers.
It is common for earthquake measurements to vary initially. According to the Associated Press news agency, the earthquake may have been the strongest in Morocco since 1960, when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck near Agadir and killed several thousand people.
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