Published On: Sat, Sep 9th, 2023

An Earthquake Kills 300 and Damages Marrakech in Morocco

Earthquake in Morocco

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the Richter scale 6.8 earthquake that hit Morocco on Friday evening was the biggest earthquake to strike that region of the North African republic in over a century. The quake was responsible for the deaths of almost 300 people and caused damage to properties in the old city of Marrakech.

The earthquake occurred in the High Atlas mountains in Morocco just after 11 p.m. midnight local time at an approximate depth of 18.5 KM (11.4 miles), according to the USGS, with the center located approximately 72 km that is 44.7 miles south-west of Marrakech, a city with a population of approximately 840,000 individuals and a destination for many tourists.

The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior reported on Saturday that a minimum of 296 people had been murdered and 153 others had been injured.

As a last-ditch effort to rescue people who were feared to be buried under the rubble, a great number of Moroccans were forced to spend the night outside in several different locations because of fear of aftershocks. The authorities in charge of public health have also requested that individuals donate blood in order to assist the victims.

Authorities indicated that the majority of fatalities took place in mountainous regions that were difficult to access. According to state-run TV Al Aoula, rescue personnel were having trouble accessing the areas that were the most severely hit since roads had been damaged.

The Royal Moroccan military issued a warning to the population to pay particular attention to any aftershocks that may occur.

The military sent a message on X, which was once known as Twitter, advising people to “alert you of the importance of exercise care and take precautions because of the possibility of aftershocks.”

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) noted that the magnitude of Friday night’s earthquake was abnormally high for that region of Morocco.

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Earthquakes of this magnitude in the region are extremely rare, but they are not unheard of. According to the USGS, there were no earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater within 500 kilometers of this earthquake since the year 1900. However, there had been 9 earthquakes of size 5 or more in the area.

The US body projected that severe damage is expected and that the catastrophe is potentially broad, noting that numerous individuals in the area live in buildings that are very susceptible to shaking from earthquakes. As a result, the US body noted that the disaster could potentially spread throughout the region.

Al-Aoula television broadcast images of many structures that had fallen near the center of the earthquake on Saturday. The broadcast also indicated that hundreds of people were fleeing their houses in response to a warning issued by the nation’s National Institute of Geophysics regarding the possibility of aftershocks.

A local citizen named Montasir Itri informed Reuters that the majority of houses in the remote town of Asni, which is close to the epicenter, sustained damage.

He stated that some of our neighbors were buried under the debris and that others were trying diligently to save them using whatever resources were available in the hamlet.

In addition, tremors were reported further west in Taroudant. A local resident told Reuters that he had to flee his home because there were still aftershocks after the initial quake.

The earth trembled for around twenty seconds. “Doors unlocked and closed by itself as I raced down from the third floor,” instructor Hamid Afkar informed Reuters. “I don’t know what happened.”

Id Waaziz Hassan, a citizen of the area, spoke with the news organization Reuters and reported that in the historic center of Marrakech, which is a member of the UNESCO World Heritage List, some houses have fallen apart and people are carrying rubble by hands while they await for trucks.

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Brahim Himmi, another citizen of Marrakech, informed Reuters that he observed ambulances leaving the historic center and that several building facades had been torn down. He also stated that many people were injured. He reported that residents were terrified and were choosing to remain outside in the event that another earthquake struck.

After the crystal chandelier dropped from the ceiling, I quickly left the building. A resident of Marrakech named Houda Hafsi, who is 43 years old, told Reuters that she and her children remained on the road at the time of the interview.

Marrakech is a city that was once the capital of Morocco and has a history that extends back almost one thousand years. The city is jam-packed with palaces, gardens, mosques, and marketplaces that date back to the Middle Ages. Its historic city center is enclosed by walls made of red earth and is lined with buildings built out of red sandstone, both of which contributed to the city’s moniker of the “red city.”

According to reports by Al Aoula TV, the walls were constructed for the first time in the first decade of the 12th century, and the earthquake caused damage to portions of the ramparts.

Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in 2019, Marrakech welcomed over three million tourists.

Marrakech is not only one of the most historically significant and culturally significant cities in Morocco, but it is also the fourth largest city in the country and a key economic center.

According to Reuters, which cited witnesses, shaking was felt as well in the capital city of Rabat, which is about 350 kilometers north of the High Desert highlands.