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JUST IN: Powerful Earthquake Kills Over 296 In Morocco


Earthquake Kills Over 296 In Morocco

By ChristyD 9 September, 2023 

In Morocco Over 296 people have been killed following a 6.8 magnitude earthquake, officials have said.

Many of the fatalities are said to be in hard-to-reach areas south of Marrakech.

The earthquake struck early Saturday – damaging buildings in major cities and sending panicked people pouring into the streets.

At least 153 people were injured and are being treated in hospital.

Witnesses in Marrakech told the Reuters news agency that some buildings have collapsed, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Big cracks were seen in a section of the medieval city’s walls.

Local television stations broadcast pictures of a fallen mosque minaret, with rubble lying on smashed cars. Others were seen screaming as they ran out of shopping centres and restaurants.

Officials are working to clear roads so ambulances and aid can reach those affected – but large distances between mountain villages mean it will take time to learn the full extent of the damage.

Montasir Itri, a resident in the mountain village of Asni not far from the epicentre, said most houses were damaged – adding: “Our neighbours are under the rubble and people are working hard to rescue them using available means in the village.”

Aftershocks have been reported – with men, women and children staying out in the streets, frightened of further quakes.

According to the US Geological Survey, the epicentre was high in the Atlas Mountains – about 43 miles (70km) away from Marrakech, a popular tourist destination.

The USGS added that it was at a relatively shallow depth of 11.5 miles (18km).

This is one of Morocco’s strongest earthquakes in years – and although they are relatively rare, a 5.8 magnitude tremor in 1960 caused thousands of deaths.

Building laws were changed after that earthquake, Sky News’ Africa correspondent Yousra Elbagir said, speaking from Johannesburg.

“But Marrakech is a historic area and the earthquake is just south of the city, so a lot of old buildings have collapsed.

“There are buildings that are centuries old, it’s a very historic place.”

Marrakech has been an area of pilgrimage and migration for centuries, she said, with many people travelling there to visit old Sufi sites.

The number of people killed is expected to rise in the coming hours, she said.

The earthquake was felt as far away as Portugal and Algeria.