In a tragic turn of events, a powerful earthquake, measuring a preliminary magnitude of 6.8, has struck Morocco, causing significant destruction and loss of life. The disaster unfolded late on Friday evening, sending shockwaves through the nation and triggering widespread damage in multiple regions.
According to Morocco’s Interior Ministry, the earthquake’s impact has been devastating, with at least 296 people losing their lives, and over 150 individuals sustaining injuries. The Ministry cautioned that these figures are preliminary and subject to change as rescue and relief efforts continue.
The earthquake struck shortly after 11 pm local time (22:00 GMT) and was centered in the Atlas Mountains, approximately 75 kilometers (44 miles) from Marrakesh, Morocco’s fourth-largest city, as reported by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Witnesses shared their harrowing experiences, recounting the terrifying moments when the earth shook violently. Mohamed, a resident of Marrakesh, described feeling the building sway and items falling from shelves. He added that many old buildings in the city had collapsed, particularly affecting the suburbs and surrounding rural areas.
In the mountain village of Asni, located near the epicenter, resident Montasir Itri reported widespread damage to houses. He shared that neighbors were trapped under rubble, and the community was rallying to rescue those in need.
Further west, near Taroudant, teacher Hamid Afkar detailed the panic as doors opened and shut on their own during the 20-second quake. He also mentioned ongoing aftershocks, further exacerbating the fear and instability in the region.
The international community has expressed condolences and offers of assistance to Morocco. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz conveyed sympathy to the earthquake’s victims and their families, describing the event as “devastating.” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief and pledged support to Morocco during this challenging period.
As the nation grapples with the aftermath of this catastrophic earthquake, rescue and relief efforts are underway to assist affected communities and provide aid to those in need. Morocco faces a long and challenging road to recovery as it begins to rebuild and heal from the devastation caused by this natural disaster.
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