Morocco earthquake: Death toll more than 2,000 people

Amizmiz, The Indonesia Post- The 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Morocco on Friday had killed 2,012 people and injured 2,059 as of Saturday, according to the local interior ministry.

The survivors in the High-Atlas Mountains were forced to spend the night in the open. Residents continue to look for their relatives who are buried on the mountainside. Houses were destroyed and mosque minarets collapsed.

Marrakesh, the historic old city in Morocco, was also not spared from damage. The city’s distance from the epicenter was about 72 km, according to the US geology agency USGS.

In Amizmiz village near the epicenter of the earthquake, rescue teams dug through the rubble of buildings with their bare hands.

Debris covered the narrow streets. Outside a hospital, around 10 bodies were seen covered in blankets surrounded by grieving relatives.

“When I felt a shaking under my feet and the house seemed to tilt, I rushed to get my children out. But my neighbors couldn’t,” said Mohamed Azaw.

“Unfortunately, none of the family members have been found alive. The father and son were found dead, while the mother and daughter are still being sought,” he said.

Long queues were seen outside the only shops open as people looked for basic supplies. Large rocks blocked the road from Amizmiz to a nearby village.

Almost all houses were damaged in the Asni area, about 40 km south of Marrakesh, and residents were forced to spend the night outside. Food stocks were running low because kitchen roofs collapsed, said resident Mohamed Ouhammo.

Another resident, Montasir Itri, said the search for victims was still ongoing.

“Our neighbors were buried under rubble and people were struggling to save them with whatever tools they had in the village,” he said.

The village of Tansghart in Ansi was worst affected, Reuters observed. Houses on steep slopes were destroyed by the shaking. Those that still stand, are missing some of their walls. Two mosque minarets were seen collapsing.

Resident Abdellatif Ait Bella was lying on the ground and almost unable to move or speak. His head was wrapped in a bandage because it was hit by rubble.

“We don’t have a house to look after him and we haven’t had food since yesterday,” said his wife, Saida Bodchich.

He was worried about the future of their family of six as the sole breadwinner was seriously injured.

“We can only ask God for help,” he said.

The village has lost 10 residents, including two teenage girls, a resident said.

The earthquake shocks were felt as far away as Huelva and Jaen in southern Spain. The World Health Organization (WHO) said more than 300 thousand people in Marrakech and its surroundings were affected by the disaster.

Seeking Shelter

Street camera footage in Marrakesh showed people running in a narrow alley when the earthquake struck. Dust and debris fell around them.

In the center of the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a mosque tower collapsed in Jemaa al-Fna Square.

Several houses collapsed and people used their hands to dig through the rubble while waiting for heavy equipment to arrive, said local resident Id Waaziz Hassan.

Morocco declared national mourning with national flags flying at half-mast across the country for three days, the royal palace said on Saturday.

The Moroccan Armed Forces will deploy teams to the affected areas to distribute clean water, food, tents and blankets, the palace said.

Friday’s quake occurred at a depth of 18.5 km, which is usually more damaging than deeper quakes of the same magnitude.

The earthquake was Morocco’s deadliest since 1960, when an earthquake was estimated to have killed at least 12,000 people, according to the USGS. (mhn/bbs)


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