More than 600 people were murdered by a strong earthquake that struck Morocco on Saturday, according to officials, sending terrified locals running from their houses in the middle of the night.At 11:11 p.m. (2211 GMT) on Friday, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake occurred in a hilly region 72 kilometres (45 miles) southwest of the popular tourist destination Marrakesh, according to the US Geological Survey.
Essaouira, Rabat, and Casablanca, three coastal cities, were also rocked by strong earthquakes.According to Moroccan media, it was the strongest earthquake to ever strike the nation.”I realised it was an earthquake after we felt a very strong tremor,” 33-year-old Abdelhak El Amrani told AFP over the phone from Marrakesh.As Amrani rushed outdoors and joined a large group of people, she recalled, “I could see buildings moving. Everyone was in shock and panic.
” The parents were inconsolable, and the kids were crying.”The telephone network and the power went out for ten minutes, but they both came back on,” he continued. “Everyone chose to remain outside.”More than half of the 632 fatalities from the earthquake occurred in the provinces of Taroudant and Al-Haouz, according to updated numbers released by the interior ministry on Saturday.
Along with the provinces of Ouarzazate, Chichaoua, Azilal, and Youssoufia, the ministry also kept track of deaths in Marrakesh, Agadir, and the Casablanca region.According to the ministry, 329 more individuals were hurt, 51 of whom were in critical condition.”Unbearable” yellsEngineer Faisal Baddour reported feeling three separate earthquakes in his building.
Because we were so afraid of the earthquake’s force, several families are still sleeping outside, he said. “It felt like a train was going by our houses.”Owning three traditional riad homes in Marrakesh’s old town, Frenchman Michael Bizet, 43, told AFP he was in bed when the earthquake happened.
“I felt like my bed was going to take off.” I quickly rushed to see my riads after stepping outside into the street partially nude. It was an actual catastrophe, anarchy, and crazy, he claimed.Bizet posted a video of debris mounds from toppled buildings in the streets.Additional footage shared on social media saw a section of a minaret collapsing in the historic city’s Jemaa el-Fna Square.
Fearing aftershocks, hundreds of people flocked to the square to spend the night; some slept on the ground, while others were covered with blankets, according to an AFP correspondent.A resident named Houda Outassaf told AFP that he felt the ground tremble while he was strolling around the square.”It was an incredibly amazing feeling. I’m still in shock, but we’re all right,” he remarked.
“At least ten of my family members passed away… I was with them just two days ago, so I find it hard to believe.
Another resident of Marrakech, Fayssal Badour, told AFP that the earthquake struck when he was driving.”When I paused, I realised what a catastrophe that was. “The cries and screams were intolerable,” he remarked.Authorities have “mobilised all the necessary resources to intervene and help the affected areas,” according to the interior ministry.
The Marrakesh regional blood transfusion centre asked locals to provide blood to those who were hurt.A family in the village of Al-Haouz, close to the epicentre of the earthquake, was reportedly trapped in the debris when their house fell, according to local media.
Probable serious harm200 miles west of Marrakesh, in Essaouira, a resident said to AFP, “We heard screams at the time of the tremor.”People prefer to sleep outside in the squares and cafes where they are present. Façade fragments have fallen.
A “red alert” for economic losses was issued by the USGS PAGER system, which offers preliminary evaluations of the effects of earthquakes. The signal indicates that substantial damage is predicted and that the disaster is likely widespread.
The US government agency claims that in the past, occurrences of this warning level have necessitated a national or worldwide level reaction.Power outages caused internet connectivity issues in Marrakesh, according to international internet watchdog NetBlocks.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia, as well as representatives of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, sent condolences to European leaders.Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, issued an order for “any necessary assistance” in 2020 when Morocco and Israel established diplomatic relations.
The bordering country of Algeria was also affected by the earthquake, although according to the Algerian Civil Defence, there were no injuries or damages there.A magnitude 6.7 earthquake in 1960 killed over 12,000 people in Agadir, while a 2004 earthquake near Al Hoceima, northeastern Morocco, left at least 628 dead and 926 injured.
In 1980, the El Asnam earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.3, occurred in neighbouring Algeria, killing 2,500 people and leaving at least 300,000 homeless.