A strong earthquake shook central Morocco from Friday night to Saturday, causing material damage in several cities. At least 296 people were killed and 153 were injured, according to an interim official report published by the Interior Ministry.
The epicenter of this earthquake, which measured 6.8 on the Richter scale according to the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS), was located southwest of the tourist city of Marrakesh, 320 km south of the capital, Rabat.
For its part, the National Center for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST), based in Rabat, indicated that the strength of the earthquake reached 7 degrees on the Richter scale, and that its epicenter was in Al Haouz Province.
According to Moroccan media, this is the strongest earthquake to hit the kingdom so far.
In one of the localities of Al Haouz Governorate, the epicenter of the earthquake, a family was trapped under the rubble after their house collapsed, according to media reports.
The media website Médias24 reported, citing medical sources, a “massive influx” of wounded people to Marrakesh hospitals.
In addition to Marrakesh, the earthquake was felt in Rabat, Casablanca and Essaouira, which sparked a state of panic among the population. Many people took to the streets of these cities for fear of their homes collapsing, according to pictures posted on social media.
Through photos and videos posted by Internet users, we can see the remains of important residences in the alleys of Marrakesh. But also cars crushed by stones.
“Shock and panic”
“At about 11 p.m., we felt a very violent tremor, and I realized it was an earthquake. I saw buildings moving. We don’t necessarily have reflexes in this kind of situation. Then I went out, and there were a lot of people outside. The people were all in a state of shock.” And panic. Abdelhak Al-Omrani (33 years old), a resident of Marrakesh, told AFP by phone: “The children were crying and the parents were in a state of astonishment.”
He added, “The electricity went out for 10 minutes, and the (telephone) network also, but it came back on. He added that everyone decided to stay outside.
According to pictures broadcast on the networks, part of a minaret collapsed in the famous Jemaa El Fna Square, the beating heart of the city of Marrakesh, injuring two people.
“I was on my way home when the earthquake occurred. My car was moving back and forth, but I did not imagine for a second that it was an earthquake,” said Faisal Baddour, 58, a resident of the city.
“I stopped and realized the disaster. What had happened was very serious, and it felt like a river was overflowing violently. The screaming and crying was unbearable,” he adds.
“There is not much damage, more panic. I heard screams during the earthquake. People in the squares, in cafes, prefer to sleep outside. A resident of the city of Essaouira (200 km west of Marrakesh) told AFP by phone: “Some facades have fallen.” “.
The quake was recorded shortly after 11 p.m. local time, according to the USGS and CNRST.
The earthquake was also felt by residents of several states in neighboring western Algeria, but the Algerian Civil Defense said that the earthquake did not cause any damage or victims.
On February 24, 2004, an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale shook the state of Al Hoceima (400 km northeast of Rabat), killing 628 people and causing significant material damage.
On February 29, 1960, an earthquake destroyed the city of Agadir, located on the western coast of the country, leaving more than 12,000 people dead, or a third of the city’s population.
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