Morocco mourns quake victims as death toll climbs to over 2,000
Updated 13:33, 10-Sep-2023
People mourn in front of the body of a victim killed in an earthquake in Moulay Brahim, Al Haouz province, September 9, 2023. /CFP
People mourn in front of the body of a victim killed in an earthquake in Moulay Brahim, Al Haouz province, September 9, 2023. /CFP

People mourn in front of the body of a victim killed in an earthquake in Moulay Brahim, Al Haouz province, September 9, 2023. /CFP

Morocco on Saturday declared three days of national mourning after a devastating earthquake jolted the kingdom late Friday night.

Flags will fly at half-mast on all public facilities during the period of national mourning, according to a statement released by the Royal Office after Moroccan King Mohammed VI chaired a meeting on the disaster.

A magnitude-6.8 earthquake hit Morocco on Friday at 11:11 p.m. local time at a depth of 18.5 kilometers, said the United States Geological Survey. The epicenter of the earthquake was near the town of Ighil in Al Haouz Province, some 70 km southwest of Marrakesh.

The quake has claimed the lives of 2,012 people and injured 2,059, with 1,404 of them in serious condition, according to the latest update from the country's Interior Ministry on Saturday.

Morocco has not experienced a disaster of this scale since 2004 when a magnitude-6.3 earthquake hit the port city of Al Hoceima, killing around 630 people.

Moroccan state TV said the majority of casualties in the earthquake were from the remote and inaccessible mountainous regions near the epicenter, with damaged roads further hindering rescue efforts.

Rescuers have been sent to the quake-hit areas to search for survivors, local media reported. TV footage showed rescuers digging through rubble and debris in an effort to save survivors.

Several national and regional roads are damaged and remain closed to remote areas, complicating efforts to deliver disaster relief supplies. Army helicopters are being deployed to deliver aid to such areas, a CGTN correspondent reported on Sunday.

The earthquake was felt in many cities across Morocco, including the capital Rabat and Casablanca. Numerous houses collapsed in the cities of Taroudant and Marrakesh, local media reported.

Rows of buildings were leveled to the ground in Imlil, a small village in the High Atlas mountains about 60 km south of Marrakesh, video footage showed.

The earthquake damaged many buildings in the old city of Marrakesh, the nearest big city to the epicenter, and many residents had to spend the night in the open space for fear of potential aftershocks, said Zhang Kai, an overseas Chinese living in Marrakesh.


"We still have people under the rubble waiting for people to rescue them, and officers are continuing their search," Amine, a resident of Moulay Brahim, a small town in Al Haouz, told CGTN correspondents.

"Our houses have been completely demolished. They are no longer suitable for habitation or shelter," Bouchoeib, another Moulay Brahim resident who has joined many staying in tents in the open, told CGTN.

Countries offer aid, solidarity

Shipments of foreign aid sent to Morocco are waiting for permission from the Morocco government to enter the earthquake zone, a CGTN correspondent reported on Sunday.

Several countries have sent equipment and other support to Morocco following the earthquake. Algeria said on Saturday that it has opened its airspace to flights transporting humanitarian aid to, and the wounded from, the earthquake zone.

The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) announced on Saturday that it would provide the Moroccan Red Crescent with $200,000 in cash as emergency humanitarian assistance to assist in its rescue operations.

The RCSC said it would keep abreast of the relief needs in Morocco and pledged to offer assistance to the best of its ability.

Arab countries and organizations, including the Arab League (AL), Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon and Libya, on Saturday sent condolences to Morocco over the devastating earthquake. They have expressed solidarity with Morocco and pledged support for its rescue and relief efforts.

Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, secretary-general of the Cairo-based AL, said he hoped Morocco would quickly overcome the crisis.

Other countries that have offered condolences or assistance include Iran, Türkiye, Israel, France, Germany and the U.S.

(With input from Xinhua)

Search Trends