More than 800 people were killed and several buildings were damaged by a rare, violent earthquake that slammed Morocco late on Friday night.
The damage ranged from communities in the Atlas Mountains to the ancient city of Marrakech. While rescuers battled to get to the most remote locations affected, it was anticipated that the death toll would grow.
The earthquake roused everyone up, and they fled into the streets in shock and fear. People gathered in the streets of Marrakech late at night, frightened to enter buildings that might still be unstable, as seen on state television.
Emergency personnel searched through the building debris for survivors while wearing luminous yellow vests that shone in the dark. Other pictures shown in local media showed a car almost being buried by the rubble of a collapsed structure and a hole gaping in the side of a house.
The famed Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, which was constructed in the 12th century, sustained damage, though the degree was not immediately known. Its 69-meter (226-foot) minaret is referred to be Marrakech’s roof.
Videos of damage to some of the well-known red walls that encircle the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, were also posted online by Moroccans.
According to the Moroccan Interior Ministry’s early-morning report on Saturday, there were at least 820 fatalities, the most of whom were in Marrakech and five nearby regions.
Morocco’s Largest Recorded Earthquake
There were also 672 injuries. The government reported that 205 of the injured were critically hurt. The formal request for assistance from the Moroccan government is needed before outside rescue teams can be sent in.
The U.S. Geological Service reported that the earthquake, which struck at 11:11 p.m. (2211 GMT) and caused shaking that lasted several seconds, had a preliminary magnitude of 6.8. A magnitude-4.9 aftershock was recorded 19 minutes later, according to the US agency.
Around 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) south of Marrakech, in the Al Haouz Province, was where the epicenter of the tremor that occurred on Friday was located.
Morocco’s seismic service estimated the epicenter to be 11 kilometers (7 miles) below the surface of the Earth, compared to 18 kilometers (11 miles) according to the USGS. These little earthquakes are more hazardous.
In North Africa, earthquakes are hardly common. The National Institute of Geophysics’ Lahcen Mhanni, Chief of the Seismic Monitoring and Warning Department, informed 2M TV that the earthquake was the greatest ever recorded in the mountain region.
Morocco changed its building regulations in response to the Agadir earthquake, but many structures, particularly rural dwellings, are not constructed to resist severe tremors.
According to the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere and Algeria’s Civil Defense agency, which is in charge of emergency response, Friday’s earthquake was felt as far away as Portugal and Algeria.
Source: ABC News