Thursday 7 December 2023

Moroccan earthquake toll crosses 2,000; many injured

Rabat, Morocco, September 10, 2023

The death toll in the in the powerful earthquake that rocked Morocco's central province of Al Haouz late on Friday evening has increased to at least 2,012,  according to an updated Interior ministry toll issued late last night (Sept 9).
More than 2000 people were also injured, including 1,404 of them in critical condition.
This earthquake caused 1,293 deaths in Al Haouz, 452 in Taroudant, 41 in Ouarzazate and 15 in Marrakech, the ministry said in a press release.
No new deaths were reported in the provinces and prefectures of Chichaoua, Azilal, Agadir Ida Outanane, Grand Casablanca, Youssoufia and Tinghir, the same source added.
The public authorities are continuing their efforts to speed up rescue operations, evacuate and provide care for the injured, and mobilize all necessary resources to respond to the repercussions of this painful tragedy, it added.
Meanwhile Reuters reported neighbours were still searching for survivors buried on the slopes, where houses of mud brick, stone and rough wood were cracked open and mosque minarets toppled by the quake. The historic old city of Marrakech also suffered extensive damage.
The US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 6.8 with an epicentre some 72 km (45 miles) southwest of Marrakech.
In the village of Amizmiz near the epicentre, rescue workers picked through rubble with their bare hands. Fallen masonry blocked narrow streets. Outside a hospital, around 10 bodies lay covered in blankets as grieving relatives stood nearby.
Rescuers stood atop the pancaked floors of one building in Amizmiz, bits of carpet and furniture protruding from the rubble. A long queue formed outside the only open shop as people sought supplies. Underlining the challenges facing rescuers, fallen boulders blocked a road from Amizmiz to a nearby village.
Nearly all the houses in the area of Asni, some 40 km south of Marrakech, were damaged, and villagers were preparing to spend the night outside. Food was in short supply as roofs had collapsed on kitchens, said villager Mohamed Ouhammo.
The village of Tansghart in the Ansi area, on the side of a valley where the road from Marrakech rises up into the High Atlas, was the worst hit of any Reuters saw. Its once-pretty houses, clinging to a steep hillside, were cracked open by the shaking ground. Those still standing were missing chunks of wall or plaster. Two mosque minarets had fallen.
US President Joe Biden said he was "deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Morocco," voicing his administration's readiness "to provide any necessary assistance for the Moroccan people.”
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia expressed his deep condolences and sincere feelings of compassion.
President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, expressed his solidarity with the Moroccan people at this difficult time, praying to the Almighty to preserve Morocco from any misfortune.



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