Rabat (Web Desk): At leas 820 people were killed and 1120 were injured after 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Morocco late Friday night, Moroccan state media reported.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck just after 11pm local time. There was a 4.9 aftershock 19 minutes later.
The earthquake’s epicentre was at a shallow depth of just over 11 miles (18.5km) and occurred from Al-Haouz region about 44 miles (72km) southwest of Marrakesh and around 35 miles (56km) west of the town of Oukaimeden.
The tremors were felt as far as Spain and Portugal.
Moroccan Interior Ministry said most of the casualties and damage occurred near the epicenter of the quake in provincial areas.
“The earthquake has hit six provinces on the Atlas mountains in the centre of Morocco, close to the city of Marrakesh,” Ministry said.
Ministry added that the provinces of Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant were affected.
He also said that eight to 10 million live in the area affected by the earthquake, mostly living in rural areas.
Large numbers of people were refusing to return to their homes for fear of aftershocks and further collapse.
An international media outlet reported that buildings in Marrakech’s Old City, a World Heritage Site, had collapsed.
Social Media platform X, has also been flooded by videos across Morocco by many tourists in the Atlas Mountains, showing the severity of the earthquake.
Simple buildings in mountain villages near the epicenter may not have survived and, being remote, it may take some time to determine casualties there.
Toll of causalities are expected to rise further.