No fewer than 600 people were killed and hundreds injured after a powerful earthquake hit Morocco late on the night of Friday, 8 September, 2023.
The disaster said to be the deadliest tremor since at least 2004, destroyed buildings and sending residents of major cities rushing from their homes to safety areas.
The magnitude 7.2 quake struck in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains late yesterday night.
A local official said most deaths were in mountain areas that were hard to reach, just as state media, citing an updated initial toll from the Interior Ministry, disclosed 632 killed and another 329 injured
The quake damaged buildings in Marrakech, the nearest big city to the epicentre, where residents spent the night in the open, afraid to go home.
A mosque minaret had fallen in Jemaa al-Fna Square, the heart of Marrakech’s old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
“We had to run right after the strong quake,” said Jaouhari Mohamed, a resident of the old city, describing desperate scenes as people fled for safety.
“I still can’t sleep in the house because of the shock and also because the old town is made up of old houses. If one falls, it will cause others to collapse,” he said.
Local television showed pictures of rubble lying on smashed cars.
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has called on citizens to remain calm, saying in a televised statement that the quake had hit the provinces of Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant.