Rescuers search for survivors trapped under rubble as Morocco hit by deadly quake
More than 2,000 people have been killed and at least 2,059 people injured in Morocco after one of the most powerful earthquakes to ever strike the country.
Of the injured, more than 1,200 are said to be seriously hurt, the country’s Interior Ministry said.
The tremors were centred in the High Atlas mountains late on Friday night. The toll was expected to rise as rescuers struggled to reach the remote areas hit hardest.
The epicentre was said to be in the Ighil area, about 40 miles (70km) south of Marrakech.
Montasir Itri, a resident of the village of Asni near the epicentre of the earthquake, said most houses there were damaged.
“Our neighbours are under the rubble and people are working hard to rescue them using available means in the village,” he told Reuters.
The tremor had an initial 6.8 magnitude when it hit at 11.11pm local time. Morocco’s National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network, however, said the earthqauke struck at a magnitude of 7.2.
A 4.9-magnitude aftershock was reported just 19 minutes after the earthquake, according to the US Geological Survey.
Death toll rises
The death toll from the earthquake that struck near Marrakech in Morocco late Friday night has now passed more than 2,000
At least 2,012 have been killed and more than 2,000 injured. Of those, More than 1.400 are in critical condition. A local official earlier said most deaths were in mountain areas that were hard to reach.
The epicentre of the quake was in the High Atlas mountains, according to the country’s National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network.
In 1960, a magnitude 5.8 tremor struck near the Moroccan city of Agadir and caused thousands of deaths. That quake prompted changes in construction rules in Morocco, but many buildings, especially rural homes, are not built to withstand such tremors.
Chris Stevenson9 September 2023 23:08
Morocco quake 'stark reminder' to test buildings for shaking
Earthquake geologists studying the Morocco earthquake say the devastating seismic event is a stark warning to test buildings, especially in areas that have previously experienced tremors, for strong shaking.
“News out of Morocco has been dire, with >1k fatalities so far and many images of collapsed, apparently unreinforced masonry,” earthquake scientist Judith Hubbard posted on X, formerly Twitter.
Many experts, including those at the USGS, have pointed out that while earthquakes in northern Africa are not frequent, they are not unexpected as well, with Morocco positioned at the juncture of a tectonic crash between the African and Eurasian continental plates, moving slowly at about 4-6 mm per year.
In 1960, a magnitude-5.8 quake that struck near Morocco’s Agadir caused 12,000-15,000 deaths in coastal western Morocco.
However, experts pointed out that despite past experience with a devastating quake, many houses, especially in the rural regions of the country still seem to have buildings vulnerable to shaking.
“Buildings in the area may never have been tested by strong shaking. This is a stark reminder that many structures around the world remain a seismic risk,” Dr Hubbard said.
Vishwam Sankaran10 September 2023 07:45
Geologist decodes why Morocco earthquake's measurement varies and why it matters
An expert has revealed why there was a variation in the magnitude of the earthquake that was reported in Morocco.
The country’s own National Institute of Geophysics reported the late Friday night earthquake as having a magnitude of 7.2 on the Ritcher scale. In contrast, however, the US Geological Survey measured the quake to be at 6.8.
While the difference of 0.4 units may not seem much, geologists say a 7.2 earthquake can be 2.5 times larger than a magnitude 6.8 event, and release nearly four times the energy.
Experts say the precise magnitude of the devastating quake in Morocco that has killed thousands could vary in the coming days as more data emerges on the disaster’s early moments.
“There is an uncertainty when you measure” earthquake magnitudes as different agencies tend to use different data and methodologies, seismologist Paul S Earle told The New York Times.
While the USGS uses stations across the globe to make measurements, Moroccan authorities, according to Dr Earle, most likely used local stations.
Further data and measurements in the coming days can settle this disparity, according to experts, who say calculating the precise magnitude can help better forecast the immediate risk posed by aftershocks as well as the region’s longer-term potential for similar quakes.
Vishwam Sankaran10 September 2023 07:00
'Available to support Moroccan government,' UN says
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said yesterday that he was deeply saddened by the death of thousands from the earthquake that hit Morocco on Friday.
“The United Nations is available to the government to support it in its efforts to help the populations,” Mr Guterres said in a statement.
The UN chief expressed his solidarity and deepest condolences for the Moroccan people and families of victims and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
Nathalie Fustier, the international body’s resident coordinator in Morocco, said the priority remains the search and rescue of people in the disaster area.
“The government of Morocco has deployed very important means to go there and provide assistance to the population and here at the United Nations, we are quite ready to assist them with their request, as soon as we request it,” Ms Fustier said.
Vishwam Sankaran10 September 2023 06:30
French citizen died in Morocco as quake struck
One French citizen died and eight others were injured amid the devastating earthquake in Morocco on Friday that has killed thousands of people in the North African country.
The French citizen died of a cardiac arrest during the earthquake, the French foreign ministry said yesterday.
As rescue workers continue to save trapped individuals from the rubble, the death toll from the quake has steeply risen and currently stands at over 2,000 with more than 1,000 seriously injured.
Vishwam Sankaran10 September 2023 06:15
Eiffel Tower goes dark in solidarity for victims
The Eiffel Tower’s lights in Paris were turned off yesterday night in tribute to victims of Morocco’s earthquake, AFP reported, citing Paris City Hall.
The devastating quake’s toll currently stands at over 2,000 people with over 1,000 seriously injured.
The Red Cross has warned that responding to the quake could take months if not years.
Vishwam Sankaran10 September 2023 05:45
Morocco declares three days of mourning
After Morocco suffered one of its most devastating earthquakes in the last 120 years, the country’s government has declared three days of mourning.
As rescuers comb for survivors amid the debris of buildings brought down by the quake, King Mohammed VI has decreed three days of national mourning.
The monarch, who was abroad on Friday when the disaster struck, has also called for donations from citizens and local businesses.
Vishwam Sankaran10 September 2023 05:15
Biden expresses support for Morocco
US president Joe Biden expressed his solidarity with the people of Morocco following the devastating earthquake that took thousands of lives.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Morocco,” Mr Biden tweeted.
He said the US “stands by Morocco and my friend King Mohammed VI” at this difficult moment.
“And, my Administration is ready to provide any necessary assistance for the Moroccan people,” the US president added.
Vishwam Sankaran10 September 2023 04:45
Apple boss tweets support for Morocco
Tech giant Apple’s chief Tim Cook expressed condolences and eagerness to support victims of the devastating earthquake in Morocco.
“Our hearts go out to all of those in Morocco impacted by the terrible earthquake,” Mr Cook said today.
“We’re thinking about you, and Apple will be making a donation to relief efforts on the ground,” he said in a post on X, the platform previously known as Twitter.
Vishwam Sankaran10 September 2023 04:15
Almost entire Moroccan mountain village damaged by quake
A Moroccan mountain village has sustained heavy damage from the quake, Reuters reported.
“We have no house to take him to and have had no food since yesterday,” Saida Bodchich, a resident of a village about 20 km (12 miles) from Morocco’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal, said.
Almost all the buildings, mostly traditional structures of mud brick, stone, and rough wooden beams, have sustained damage from the quake.
Officials say most of the over 1,000 deaths have occurred in this village on the side of a valley where the road from Marrakech rises up into the High Atlas.
Vishwam Sankaran10 September 2023 03:43