Even the American and Algerian presidents offered assistance in the horrific earthquake that struck Morocco
According to a statement from the Ministry of the Interior on Saturday afternoon – which was shown on Moroccan state television – 1,037 deaths were counted, and it is known that more than 1,200 were infected. Geological Center, headquartered in Rabat He confirmed that the country had been hit by a 7-magnitude earthquakeIts center was in the Al Haouz province in central Morocco, 72 kilometers southwest of Marrakesh. The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake measured 6.8 magnitude.
According to a report by the Moroccan Ministry, the earthquake caused deadly destruction in the provinces of Al Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Cesava and Taroudant. In the city closest to the epicenter, Marrakesh, many buildings of historical importance were damaged, and the minaret of a mosque in the city center, which is also included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, collapsed.
The earthquake caused the greatest amount of destruction in the mountainous areas near the epicenter of the earthquake, in the High Atlas Mountains, where buildings collapsed in several remote villages. In addition to Marrakesh, the earthquake was also felt by residents of the capital, Rabat, Casablanca, and Agadir, which sparked a state of panic among the population. According to pictures posted on social media, many people fled to the streets in these cities, fearing that their homes would collapse. Photos and videos posted by Internet users show large pieces of debris in the streets of the Medina district of Marrakesh.
The Moroccan King, King Mohammed I, ordered the mobilization of the army and special search and rescue units, as well as the establishment of a hospital to immediately treat the injured.
Despite the mobilization of planes, helicopters and drones, rescue work has slowed down significantly due to the fact that roads in the mountainous area near the epicenter are blocked by pieces of falling rock in many places.
Many countries around the world have offered their support to the Moroccan authorities, but have not yet officially requested assistance. Algeria announced that it will open its airspace to aircraft carrying humanitarian aid to Morocco. Algeria severed its diplomatic relations with Morocco two years ago due to the long-standing conflict between the two countries, including the decades-long conflict over Western Sahara. At the same time, Algeria closed its airspace to Moroccan civil and military air traffic.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune also offered on Saturday that if Morocco submits a request, Algeria – as a sign of its solidarity – is ready to provide humanitarian aid to those in need.
Such a strong earthquake had never occurred in Morocco before. To date, the earthquake that caused the largest number of deaths occurred in 1960, when more than 12,000 people died, or about a third of the city’s population, in the city of Agadir, located on the western coast of the country, as a result of a 5.8-magnitude earthquake. Nineteen years ago, in February 2004, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook Al Hoceima Province, located 400 kilometers northeast of Rabat, killing 628 people and causing significant material damage. Earthquakes are relatively rare in North Africa. The head of the Moroccan Geophysical Institute said that Friday’s earthquake was the second strongest earthquake recorded in the region.
Cover image source: MTI Photo/Dzalal Morsidi