Morocco’s deadliest earthquake in decades has claimed the lives of at least 2,012 people, authorities said on Saturday. 1404 people who are in a critical condition.
Troops and emergency services are working tirelessly to reach remote mountain villages where there are concerns that casualties may still be trapped.
The 6.8-magnitude quake struck late on Friday in a mountainous area 72km southwest of the city of Marrakech, the US Geological Survey reported. The quake that struck in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains late on Friday night damaged historic buildings in Marrakesh – the nearest city to the epicentre – while most of the fatalities were reported in mountainous areas to the south in the Al-Haouz and Taroudant provinces.
The epicentre of the earthquake was at a depth of 18.5km (11.5 miles) and occurred about 72km (44 miles) northeast of Marrakesh, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI ordered the armed forces to mobilise specialised search and rescue teams and a surgical field hospital.
“Three of my grandchildren and their mother were killed – they are still under the rubble,” villager Omar Benhanna, 72, told AFP. “Just a while ago, we were all playing together.”
Authorities declared three days of national mourning, but the Red Cross warned that it could take years to repair the damage.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said more than 300,000 people had been affected by the powerful tremors throughout the country