Tragedy Strikes: Earthquake Rocks Morocco

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In a devastating turn of events, Morocco was hit by a powerful earthquake on Friday night, claiming the lives of more than 2,000 people and leaving thousands injured. Here’s what we know so far about this tragic event.

When and Where It Struck?

The earthquake struck at approximately 11:11 p.m. local time (6:11 p.m. ET) and had its epicenter located in the High Atlas mountain range, about 72 kilometers (44.7 miles) southwest of Marrakech, a bustling city with around 840,000 inhabitants. However, the quake’s impact was felt as far north as Casablanca.

Magnitude and Uncommon Occurrence

With a magnitude of 6.8, this earthquake falls under the category of “strong.” Its shallow depth added to its destructive nature. While earthquakes of this size are uncommon in the region, the US Geological Survey noted that they are not entirely unexpected. Since 1900, nine quakes with a magnitude of 5 or higher have occurred in the area, but none matched the magnitude of this recent quake. In fact, it’s the deadliest earthquake Morocco has experienced since 1960, when a devastating quake claimed the lives of more than 12,000 people.

Widespread Impact

The quake’s impact has been widespread, affecting more than 300,000 people in Marrakech and its surroundings, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Historic sites have suffered damage, but the areas closest to the Atlas Mountains have been hit the hardest. Eyewitnesses report that some towns in the mountain foothills have been entirely destroyed, with significant damage to homes in the village of Asni. The province of Al Haouz has seen hundreds of casualties, and nearly 200 lives were lost in the southwestern city of Taroudant. The full extent of the damage is still emerging.

Emergency Response and Ongoing Rescue Efforts

Despite damaged roads and debris blocking access in some areas, emergency workers have been deployed to the affected regions. Rescue operations are still underway, with many hoping for miracles as efforts continue to recover survivors from the rubble. Some residents in Marrakech spent the night outdoors, fearing aftershocks, while others fled the city altogether.

International Support and Solidarity

The international community has rallied behind Morocco in its time of need. Turkey, which experienced its own devastating earthquake earlier this year, has offered to send personnel and tents to support aid efforts. Algeria, despite diplomatic tensions, has agreed to reopen its airspace for humanitarian aid and medical flights to and from Morocco. The United Nations, US President Joe Biden, and French President Emmanuel Macron have pledged assistance.

What are the world leaders saying?

Leaders from around the world, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have expressed their condolences and solidarity with Morocco in the face of this tragic disaster. The global community stands united in offering support to the people of Morocco during this difficult time.