10 Sept 2023

Morocco Earthquake: Death Toll Crosses 2,000; rescue teams search for survivors

The death toll in Morocco earthquake has crossed 2000 mark. So far 2,012 people have been confirmed dead in the quake that jolted Morocco late Friday night. More than 2,059 people have been injured. Of these, the condition of 1404 is critical. King Mohammed VI has declared 3 days of national mourning. He has ordered to provide food, shelter and other help to the victims.

Rescuers face challenge of reaching remote villages

Meanwhile, rescue operations are in full swing and rescue teams are combing the rubble of collapsed buildings in search of survivors. Amid the ongoing rescue operations, rescuers are facing the main challenge of reaching remote villages located in tough terrains. Many of them are finding it difficult to reach villages in the High Atlas, a rugged mountain range where settlements are often remote and where many houses crumbled.

3 lakh people affected

According to the Moroccan Geological Centre, the earthquake's magnitude was 7.2. However, the US Geological Survey has put its intensity at 6.8 and also said that this is the most powerful earthquake to hit this area in 120 years. According to UN, 3 lakh people have been affected due to the earthquake.

Moroccan state television reported that many buildings had collapsed due to the earthquake. The epicenter of the earthquake was reported to be the village of Ighil near the Atlas Mountains, which is 70 kilometers from the city of Marrakesh. The depth of the earthquake was 18.5 kilometers below the ground. Earthquake tremors were felt as far as Portugal and Algeria.

UNESCO World Heritage Site damaged

In Marrakech, the famous Koutoubia Mosque, built in the 12th century, was damaged, but the extent was not immediately clear. Its 69-foot minaret is known as the “roof of Marrakech.” This mosque was a UNESCO heritage site. Its pictures are going viral. Moroccans also posted videos showing damage to parts of the famous red walls that surround the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the earthquake in Morocco. He said- We are with Morocco in this hour of sorrow. We are ready to provide all possible help. 

France, US, UK promise to help

France stands ready to help Morocco and is awaiting a formal request for help, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Sunday.

French President Emmanuel Macron is among world leaders who offered help on Saturday to Morocco, saying France stood ready to help rescue efforts.

US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also said they would provide all possible help to Morocco. Turkey, which suffered an even deadlier earthquake in February 2023, has also promised to send several thousand tents and more than 200 aid workers.

At the same time, according to media reports, there was no statement from Moroccan leader King Mohammed VI for 12 hours after the earthquake. Despite more than 2 thousand deaths, instead of addressing the people, only a statement was issued. In this, instructions were given to help the people. He stays out of the country most of the time.

Due to the rural area near the epicenter of the earthquake, most of the houses were built with mud which completely collapsed. 

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