Powerful earthquake causes damage across Morocco

Powerful earthquake causes damage across Morocco

A 6.8 magnitude quake south-west of Marrakesh kills at least 820 people causes heavy casualties, officials say.


A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.8 has struck central Morocco, killing at least 820 people, and causing damage in several areas.

The epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh, at a depth of 18.5km, the US Geological Survey said.

It struck at 23:11 local time, followed by a 4.9 aftershock 19 minutes later.

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People died in Marrakesh and several areas to the south, the country's interior ministry said.

Many of the victims are believed to be in remote areas.

The interior ministry said the earthquake killed people in the provinces and municipalities of al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant, adding that more than 600 people have been injured.

Many people spent the night out in the open as the Moroccan government had warned them not to go back into their homes in case of severe aftershocks.

Hospitals in Marrakesh have seen an influx of injured people, and the authorities have called on residents to donate blood.

There are also reports of families trapped under the rubble of their homes in the city, and damage to parts of the Medina, a Unesco World heritage Site.

Some buildings have collapsed, one resident told the Reuters news agency. Several clips on X show buildings crashing down, but the BBC has not identified where they were.

Dust could also be seen surrounding the minaret of the historic Kutubiyya mosque in Marrakesh, a major tourist attraction near the old city's main square.


More than 820 people have died after a powerful earthquake struck central Morocco, according to the country's interior ministry

The quake - measuring magnitude 6.8 - sent people rushing into the streets in Marrakesh and other cities

Many of the deaths were said to be in hard-to-reach mountain areas - and at least 153 people were injured

It struck just after 23:00 local time, at a relatively shallow depth 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh, according to the US Geological Survey

Unverified video clips on X (formerly Twitter) show damaged buildings and rubble-strewn streets

One man described feeling a "violent tremor" and seeing "buildings moving".

"People were all in shock and panic. The children were crying and the parents were distraught," Abdelhak El Amrani told the AFP agency.

He said power and phone lines were down for 10 minutes.

Marrakesh resident Fayssal Badour had been driving when the quake hit.

"I stopped and realised what a disaster it was," he told AFP. "The screaming and crying was unbearable."