Earthquake In Morocco Leaves At Least 2,000 Dead

On Sunday, a 3.9 magnitude aftershock unnerved Moroccans amidst their prayers for those affected by the country’s most powerful earthquake in over a century. As they worked to pull survivors from the debris, military personnel, and aid workers delivered essential supplies to devastated mountainous villages. The death toll stands at over 2,000, with expectations of this figure climbing further.

The aftermath of the magnitude 6.8 earthquake on Friday night has impacted an estimated 300,000 individuals, according to the United Nations. Frustrations brew among Moroccans as they voice concerns on social media platforms about the perceived slow response of their government in allowing international aid. Foreign relief teams are ready to move in but await an official nod from the Moroccan government.

Wary of further aftershocks from the devastating earthquake, people chose the safety of open spaces over their homes, congregating in places like Marrakech’s ancient streets and the Atlas Mountain’s towns, including one of the most affected areas, Moulay Brahim. On Sunday, another quake of 3.9 magnitude struck these already damaged zones, with its potential impact not immediately known.

The Friday earthquake brought down buildings ill-equipped to handle such a force, burying people in debris and spreading panic. As of Saturday night, the death toll stood at 2,012, with an additional 2,059 injured, among which 1,404 are critical, as Morocco’s Interior Ministry reported.

National mourning has commenced, with King Mohammed VI declaring three days starting Sunday. The military has been deployed for specialized search and rescue operations, and the king has sanctioned provisions for the affected.

With the ongoing relief efforts, international aid offers are outpouring. The U.N. has set up a team in Morocco to facilitate this process. As a positive development, Spain dispatched an air force plane carrying a search and rescue team to Marrakech, following a request from Moroccan officials. Additionally, a team from Nice, France, is en route.

USGS records stated that this was the most potent quake to affect Morocco since the 1900s. However, the 1960 magnitude 5.8 earthquake near Agadir remains among the deadliest. Consequently, the country revised its building codes, but many structures remain vulnerable, especially in rural areas.

The quake’s tremors were also felt in distant Portugal and Algeria, as confirmed by national agencies.