Nearly 300 Dead After Morocco Earthquake, As If A River Burst Its Banks

A severe earthquake that shook Morocco on Friday night claimed the lives of about 300 people, according to a preliminary government tally. Residents of Marrakesh said they heard “unbearable” screams following the 6.8-magnitude tremor.

According to a preliminary study, the earthquake caused 296 fatalities in the Moroccan provinces and towns of Al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant.

153 more people suffered injuries, it continued.

A 33-year-old man in Marrakesh called AFP and said, “We felt a pretty severe tremor, and I realized it was an earthquake.

“I could make out moving buildings. We may not always have the reflexes necessary for this kind of circumstance. After that, I went outside and saw a large crowd. Everyone was startled and in a panic. The parents were inconsolable while the kids sobbed.

The telephone network and the power were both out for ten minutes before coming back on. Everyone chose to remain outside,” he continued.

The owner of three traditional riad homes in Marrakech’s old town, a Frenchman by the name of Michael Bizet, 43, told AFP that he was in bed when the earthquake struck.

“I feared that my bed might fly away. I entered the street partially clothed and walked straight to my riad. He described it as absolute anarchy, tragedy, and lunacy.

A minaret portion that collapsed in the renowned Jemaa el-Fna square in the old city, injuring two people, was seen on social media video.

Another Marrakesh resident, Fayssal Badour, told AFP that he was driving when the earthquake struck.

“I stopped after observing the calamity. It was so grave that it seemed like a flood had overflowed its bounds. It was agonizing to hear the screaming and wailing, he recalled.

In order to intervene and help the affected districts, authorities have “mobilized all necessary resources,” according to the interior ministry.

Marrakesh hospitals apparently experienced a “massive influx” of patients with injuries.

Residents are being urged to donate blood to help the injured, according to the regional blood transfusion center in Marrakech.

A family in the village of Al-Haouz, close to the epicenter of the earthquake, was reportedly trapped in the debris when their home collapsed.

Likely significant damage According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred around 11:11 p.m. at a depth of 18.5 kilometers, 44 miles (71 kilometres) southwest of Marrakesh, a popular tourist destination.

The coastal cities of Rabat, Casablanca, and Essaouira were also affected.

“We heard screams at the time of the tremor,” an Essaouira resident who lives 200 kilometers west of Marrakech told AFP.

Many people opt to sleep outside in cafes and public spaces. The facade has broken into pieces.

An orange signal for economic losses was issued by the USGS’s PAGER system, which offers early evaluations of the effects of earthquakes and predicts the likelihood of major damage.

According to the US government agency, previous occurrences with this alert level have called for a regional or national-level reaction.

In this location, “the population lives in buildings that are extremely vulnerable to earthquake shaking,” according to the USGS.

According to international internet watchdog NetBlocks, Marrakesh had internet connectivity issues as a result of power outages.

According to Moroccan media, it was the strongest earthquake to have ever struck the nation.

Although the earthquake was also felt in neighboring Algeria, neither damage nor casualties were reported there, according to the Algerian Civil Défense.

Al Hoceima, in northeastern Morocco, was struck by an earthquake in 2004, which resulted in at least 628 fatalities and 926 injuries.

One of the worst and most destructive earthquakes in recent memory was the 7.3-magnitude El Asnam earthquake that struck neighbouring Algeria in 1980.

It resulted in 2,500 fatalities and at least 300,000 homeless people.

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