The death toll from the earthquake in Morocco that occurred on Friday, September 8, 2023, continues to rise. The latest data indicates that the casualties from this natural disaster have now exceeded 2,000 lives.
As of Sunday morning, September 10, 2023, the Ministry of Interior in Morocco has recorded a death toll of 2,012 individuals, with 2,059 people injured, including 1,404 in critical condition.
According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale, with its epicenter located approximately 72 km (45 miles) southwest of Marrakesh.
Local residents are still making efforts to search for survivors buried under the rubble, where houses made of mud bricks, stone, and rough timber have cracked, and mosque towers have collapsed due to the earthquake that occurred on Friday night. The historic old city of Marrakesh has also suffered severe damage.
This earthquake in Morocco is considered the deadliest in the country in over six decades. It has destroyed homes in remote mountain villages where rescue teams are digging through debris to find survivors.
The earthquake struck in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco on Friday night, damaging historical buildings in Marrakesh, the nearest city to the epicenter. The most heavily affected areas are in the nearby mountainous regions.
In the village of Amizmiz near the epicenter, rescue workers are clearing debris with their bare hands, as fallen rocks obstruct narrow roads and hinder access. Outside the hospital, approximately 10 bodies lie in body bags.
“When I felt the ground shaking beneath my feet and my house tilting, I rushed to get my children out. However, my neighbor couldn’t,” said a resident named Mohamed Azaw to Reuters.
Meanwhile, CCTV footage in Marrakesh shows the moment the earth began to tremble, with people suddenly looking around and jumping, while others ran for shelter and then fled as dust and debris fell around them.
“In the heart of the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, a mosque minaret collapsed in Jemaa al-Fna Square. Several houses in the densely populated old town crumbled, and people used their hands to clear debris while waiting for heavy machinery,” said another resident named Id Waaziz Hassan.
Morocco has declared three days of national mourning, during which the national flag will be flown at half-mast throughout the country. The Moroccan armed forces will mobilize rescue teams to provide clean drinking water, food supplies, tents, and blankets to the affected areas.