Rescuers in Morocco have intensified their efforts to find survivors of Friday’s catastrophic earthquake, focusing on reaching remote areas in the Atlas Mountains where reports suggest some villages have been completely leveled.
The confirmed death toll has surpassed 2,100, with rescuers cautioning that it is likely to increase further. Official figures updated late on Sunday indicate that more than 2,400 people have been injured, many of them seriously.
The 6.8-magnitude quake struck approximately 72 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of the historic city of Marrakesh, a popular tourist destination. The quake was the strongest to hit the region around the ancient city of Marrakech in a century, according to the US Geological Survey. In the wake of the disaster, many residents of the old city were forced to sleep on the streets due to damage to their homes.
The worst destruction has been in isolated mountain areas, which are difficult to access. Residents have described whole villages suffering damage and rescuers unable to retrieve bodies from rubble.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI declared three days of mourning and ordered mosques nationwide to hold funeral prayers on Sunday.