The devastating earthquake that struck Morocco has left over 1,000 individuals dead and countless buildings damaged.
The earthquake, which was the most severe in Morocco in 120 years, affected areas from the Atlas Mountains to the historical city of Marrakech. The aftermath saw people in shock, fleeing their homes and seeking refuge in the streets.
State television captured the panic and fear as residents of Marrakech hesitated to re-enter potentially unstable buildings. Many chose to sleep outdoors, wrapping themselves in blankets for warmth.
Historical structures, including the renowned Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, sustained damage. The extent of this damage remains unclear. Videos also showcased the destruction of parts of the iconic red walls encircling the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Bill McGuire, a professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, commented on the tragedy. He pointed out that in regions where destructive earthquakes are infrequent, buildings often aren't constructed to withstand such events. This results in significant casualties.
McGuire further added that aftershocks are expected, which could lead to more casualties and impede rescue operations, Breitbart reported.
Despite the global outpour of assistance offers, the Moroccan government has yet to formally request help. Such a request is necessary before international rescue teams can be deployed.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco has mobilized the armed forces to assist in the aftermath. This includes deploying air and land assets, specialized search and rescue teams, and a surgical field hospital.
Rescue operations continued throughout the night, with teams tirelessly searching for survivors amidst the rubble and debris. The village of Moulay Brahim, located south of Marrakech, was particularly affected, with many homes reduced to ruins.
Ayoub Toudite, a local resident, recounted the terrifying moments during the quake. He described the scene as chaotic, with people running and children crying. The devastation in his area resulted in 20 deaths and 30 injuries.
Leaders from around the world have extended their condolences and offered assistance. Countries such as Turkey, France, and Germany have proposed aid. Both Ukraine and Russia have also expressed their support for the Moroccan people.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake's preliminary magnitude as 6.8. An aftershock with a magnitude of 4.9 occurred shortly after. The earthquake's epicenter was near the town of Ighil in Al Haouz Province, approximately 70 kilometers south of Marrakech.
Earthquakes of this magnitude are rare in North Africa. The recent quake is considered the strongest ever recorded in the region. Previous significant quakes in Morocco include the 1960 Agadir earthquake and the 2004 tremor near Al Hoceima.