(MARAKECH, Morocco) — A rare and powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Morocco late Friday night and killed at least 1,037 people in the country’s strongest quake in more than a century, according to Morocco’s Interior Ministry.
The U.S. Geological Survey recorded the quake had 6.8-magnitude when it hit at 11:11 p.m. locally, with shaking that lasted several seconds. Morocco’s National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network measured it at 7 on the Richter scale. The U.S. agency reported a 4.9-magnitude aftershock hit 19 minutes later.
Marrakech has a population of almost a million people, a popular tourist destination known for its historic palaces. Marrakech hosted the 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Sep 09, 11:11 AM EDT
Algeria offers to open its airspace to Morocco following deadly quake
Algeria has offered humanitarian aid and has offered to open its airspace to allow eventual humanitarian aid or medical evacuation flights in and out of neighboring Morocco as the death toll continues to rise.
The country, which is bordered by Morocco to the west, closed the airspace when its government severed diplomatic ties with Morocco in 2021 over a series of issues. The countries have a decades-long dispute involving the territory of Western Sahara.
Algeria said it is ready to offer humanitarian aid “in solidarity with the brotherly Moroccan people, in case the authorities of the Moroccan kingdom express a wish for this,” Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s office said in a statement Saturday.
The statement also offered condolences for the dead and “deepest compassion” for the injured.
Sep 09, 6:32 AM EDT
President Biden issues written statement on Morocco earthquake
President Biden said in a written statement that he was “deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Morocco.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by this terrible hardship,” the president said. “My administration is in contact with Moroccan officials. We are working expeditiously to ensure American citizens in Morocco are safe, and stand ready to provide any necessary assistance for the Moroccan people. The United States stands by Morocco and my friend King Mohammed VI at this difficult moment.”
Sep 09, 6:29 AM EDT
Casualty numbers climb as search and rescue operations continue
The number of casualties in the Moroccan earthquake has risen as search and rescue operations to find survivors continued on Saturday afternoon.
The Moroccan Interior Ministry confirmed that at least 820 people have died and 672 people have been injured.
Sep 09, 4:17 AM EDT
At least 632 people dead, another 329 injured
At least 632 people are dead and another 329 people have been injured in the earthquake that hit Morocco late Friday night, according to Morocco’s Interior Ministry on Saturday morning. The casualties were mostly in Marrakech and the five provinces near the quake’s epicenter. Authorities expect these numbers to rise as the search continues and rescuers reach remote areas.
Sep 09, 1:44 AM EDT
UN says it is ‘ready to assist’ as US embassy issues safety alert
The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said he is “profoundly saddened” after learning of the earthquake that took place in Morocco late Friday night, according to a statement issued by the UN Saturday morning.
“The Secretary-General was profoundly saddened to learn of the earthquake that hit Morocco today which claimed many lives,” the statement read. “The Secretary-General expresses his solidarity with the government and people of Morocco in these difficult times. He addresses his most sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured. The United Nations is ready to assist the government of Morocco in its efforts to assist the impacted population.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Morocco urged Americans to “exercise caution for the next 24 hours in case of additional earthquakes or aftershocks” and to “adhere to police instructions regarding road closures or traffic disruptions.”
Sep 09, 1:35 AM EDT
Powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake strikes Morocco
At least 296 people were killed Friday night when a 6.8-magnitude struck Marrakech, Morocco, according to Morocco’s Interior Ministry.
The quake struck within the Moroccan High Atlas Mountain range, roughly 75 km (46 miles) southeast of Marrakech, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
It was the strongest earthquake to hit that region in more than a century, according to the USGS.
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