Devastating Earthquake Claims Over 1,000 Lives in Morocco

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Late Friday night, Morocco experienced a rare and powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8. Resulting in the tragic loss of more than 1,000 lives. The quake wreaked havoc across a wide area, from remote mountain villages in the Atlas Mountains to the historic city of Marrakech. Rescue efforts faced significant challenges due to blocked roads strewn with boulders.

The earthquake left people in a state of shock and fear, with residents rushing into the streets. The witness described the terrifying moments when dishes and wall hangings fell. And people were knocked off their feet and chairs. The intense vibrations prompted many to le their homes, and some were awakened by the violent shaking while in bed.

Morocco earthquake

In Marrakech, a city in Morocco, people gathered in the streets, reluctant to re-enter buildings. As this might still pose a threat. Wrapped in blankets, they attempted to find refuge outdoors.

This earthquake was the most significant to strike Morocco in over a century, causing extensive damage to ancient cities. These cities were constructed from stone and masonry that were not engineered to withstand seismic activity.

Bill McGuire, a professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, explained, “The problem is that in regions where destructive earthquakes are infrequent, buildings are often not constructed to withstand strong ground shaking, leading to many collapses and high casualties.” He anticipated that the final death toll could rise into the thousands, considering the likelihood of aftershocks, which could hinder rescue efforts and result in further casualties.

On the other side, we have also got a statement from President Joe Biden. The statement was published on the official White House website whitehouse.gov. Which says “I am 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. 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.”

Marrakech is a city renowned for its historical and cultural significance, The iconic Koutoubia Mosque, a masterpiece dating back to the 12th century, sustained damage during the earthquake. However, the full extent of the damage remained uncertain at that moment. The mosque is particularly famous for its towering 69-meter (226-foot) minaret, often referred to as the “roof of Marrakech.” Additionally, Moroccans shared videos highlighting the harm inflicted on sections of the renowned red walls that encircle the ancient city, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site

The magnitude of the disaster became evident as King Mohammed VI of Morocco issued a directive to the armed forces, calling for the mobilization of both air and land assets. He also directed specialized search and rescue teams and the establishment of a surgical field hospital. This significant response was detailed in a military statement.

Despite an overwhelming show of support and offers of assistance pouring in from across the globe. The Moroccan government had not yet declared an aid assistance or formal request for aid. Such a request is a necessary step before international rescue teams can be officially deployed to assist in the crisis.

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