Monday, May 20

Devastation: 6.8 Magnitude Earthquake Claims 296 Lives in Morocco

Devastation: 6.8 Magnitude Earthquake Claims 296 Lives in Morocco


Tragedy struck central Morocco late on Friday as a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 unleashed destruction, claiming the lives of at least 296 people and leaving dozens injured, according to the US Geological Survey.

A devastating earthquake of magnitude 6.8 struck central Morocco late on Friday, resulting in a tragic loss of life. Morocco’s Interior Ministry reported early on Saturday that the earthquake had claimed at least 296 lives in the provinces near the epicenter, with 153 individuals sustaining injuries and being transported to hospitals for treatment. The majority of the damage was reported in rural areas outside of cities and towns. Despite these initial reports, authorities are still assessing the full extent of the damage caused by this catastrophic event.

 

6.8 Magnitude Earthquake Claims 296 Lives in Morocco
6.8 Magnitude Earthquake Claims 296 Lives in Morocco

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed deep condolences and sorrow for the tragic loss of lives resulting from the earthquake in Morocco. He conveyed his sentiments via the microblogging site X (formerly Twitter), stating, “Extremely pained by the loss of lives due to an earthquake in Morocco. In this tragic hour, my thoughts are with the people of Morocco. Condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest. India is ready to offer all possible assistance to Morocco in this difficult time.” His message reflects India’s solidarity and willingness to provide support to Morocco during this challenging period.

 

 

The earthquake that struck Morocco had initially been recorded with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey, occurring at 11:11 p.m. (2211 GMT) and lasting several seconds. In contrast, Morocco’s National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network measured it at 7 on the Richter scale. Additionally, the U.S. agency reported a magnitude-4.9 aftershock just 19 minutes later.

Such variations in early measurements are not uncommon, but either reading would mark one of Morocco’s most powerful earthquakes in recent years. While earthquakes are infrequent in North Africa, a significant tremor with a magnitude of 5.8 struck near Agadir in 1960, resulting in thousands of casualties.

The epicenter of Friday’s earthquake was located high in the Atlas Mountains, approximately 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) south of Marrakech. This region is also close to Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak, and Oukaimeden, a popular Moroccan ski resort.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the earthquake’s epicenter was situated 18 kilometers (11 miles) beneath the Earth’s surface, while Morocco’s seismic agency indicated it was at a depth of 8 kilometers (5 miles).

As of early Saturday, there had been no official reports regarding casualties or damage from Moroccan authorities or MAP, the official news agency of Morocco. Typically, government officials utilize this agency to disseminate crucial information.

The impact of the earthquake was not confined to Morocco alone; it was felt as far away as Portugal and Algeria, as confirmed by the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere and Algeria’s Civil Defense agency, responsible for emergency response.

Several videos circulating on social media, although not immediately verifiable by Reuters, depicted scenes of buildings collapsing and debris strewn across streets. Other footage captured people evacuating shopping centers, restaurants, and apartment buildings, gathering outdoors.

A resident of Marrakesh, Brahim Himmi, reported observing ambulances emerging from the city’s old town, noting damage to the facades of many buildings. He described a general sense of fear among people, with many choosing to remain outdoors in anticipation of potential aftershocks.


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