When a 6.8 earthquake decimates Morocco, more than 329 people are hurt and more than 632 people pass away.
Several structures, including a UNESCO World Heritage site, collapsed in Marrakech.
A violent 6.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred Friday southwest of Marrakesh, Morocco, caused havoc and up to 632 fatalities. Several videos that appeared on social media showed collapsed structures and rubble.
At 11:11 p.m. local time (2211 GMT), an earthquake with a depth of 18.5 kilometers struck 44 miles (71 kilometers) southwest of Marrakesh.
At least 329 people were hurt, 51 of them were in critical condition, according to an updated interior ministry toll.
Residents of large cities fled their houses as a result of the earthquake, which caused several buildings to be demolished. Furthermore, a local official claimed that the majority of fatalities occurred in remote mountainous locations.
“People are working incredibly hard to rescue our neighbors using the tools the village has to offer,”
remarked Montasir Itri, a local of Asni, a town in the mountains close to the center.
Marrakech, where multiple structures, including a UNESCO World Heritage site, collapsed in the old city, is the closest major city to the epicentre.
Additionally, according to global internet watchdog NetBlocks, Marrakesh had internet connectivity issues as a result of localized power outages.
According to the USGS, “the population in this region lives in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking.”
The epicenter of the earthquake, which occurred at a relatively shallow depth of 18.5 km (11.5 miles), was just after 11 p.m. local time (2200 GMT) and was located around 72 km (44 miles) southwest of Marrakesh and 56 kilometers west of the Atlas Mountain hamlet of Oukaimeden.
Due to its location at the intersection of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates, Morocco frequently experiences earthquakes in its northern region.
A 33-year-old man in Marrakesh called AFP and said, “We felt a pretty severe tremor, and I realized it was an earthquake.
“I could make out moving buildings. We may not always have the reflexes necessary for this kind of circumstance. After that, I went outside and saw a large crowd. Everyone was startled and in a panic. The parents were inconsolable while the kids sobbed.
The telephone network and the power were both out for ten minutes before coming back on. Everyone chose to remain outside,” he continued.
Owner of three traditional riad homes in Marrakech’s old town and a Frenchman by the name of Michael Bizet, 43, told AFP that he was in bed when the earthquake struck.
“I feared that my bed might fly away. I entered the street partially clothed and walked straight to my riads. He described it as absolute anarchy, a tragedy, and lunacy.
A minaret portion that collapsed in the renowned Jemaa el-Fna square in the old city, injuring two persons, was seen on social media video.
Another Marrakesh resident, Fayssal Badour, told AFP that he was driving when the earthquake struck.
“I halted and saw what a catastrophe it was. It was so grave it seemed like a flood had overflowed its bounds. It was agonizing to hear the screaming and wailing, he recalled.
Authorities have “mobilized all necessary resources to intervene and assist the affected areas,” according to the interior ministry.
Marrakesh hospitals apparently experienced a “massive influx” of patients with injuries.
Residents are being urged to donate blood to help the injured, according to the regional blood transfusion center in Marrakech.
A family in the village of Al-Haouz, close to the epicenter of the earthquake, was reportedly trapped in the debris when their home collapsed.
probable substantial harm
The coastal cities of Rabat, Casablanca, and Essaouira were also affected.
“We heard screams at the time of the tremor,” an Essaouira resident who lives 200 kilometers west of Marrakech told AFP.
“People choose to sleep outside in the squares and cafes. Facade pieces have fallen.
An orange signal for economic losses was issued by the USGS’s PAGER system, which offers early evaluations of the effects of earthquakes and predicts the likelihood of major damage.
According to the US government agency, previous occurrences with this alert level have called for a regional or national-level reaction.
In this location, “the population lives in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking,” according to USGS.
According to Moroccan media, it was the strongest earthquake to have ever struck the nation.
Although the earthquake was also felt in neighboring Algeria, neither damage nor casualties were reported there, according to Algerian Civil Defence.
In 2004, an earthquake that struck Al Hoceima in northwestern Morocco resulted in at least 628 fatalities and 926 injuries.
One of the worst and most destructive earthquakes in recent memory was the 7.3-magnitude El Asnam earthquake that struck neighboring Algeria in 1980.
At least 300,000 were rendered homeless and 2,500 people died.