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Morocco earthquake: Death toll surpasses 1,000


A resident navigates through the rubble following a 6.8 magnitude quake in Marrakesh, Morocco, on Sept. 9, 2023. [AFP]

More than 1,000 people have died and over 1,200 have been injured in a powerful earthquake that hit Morocco on Friday night, the country’s interior ministry said.

The 6.8-magnitude quake struck at 23:00 local time (22:00 GMT), at a relatively shallow depth of 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh, the US Geological Survey reported.

The quake sent people fleeing into the streets in panic in Marrakesh and other cities. Many of the fatalities were in hard-to-reach mountain areas, where buildings collapsed and roads were blocked by landslides.

Dramatic video footage showed damaged buildings and rubble-strewn streets. Much damage was reported in the remote areas of Marrakesh, where many people live in mud-brick houses.

Search and rescue efforts have been stepped up, as the authorities expect the death toll to rise. Security has been tightened amid messages of condolence from world leaders.

US President Joe Biden offered his sympathy and assistance to the victims of the earthquake.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Morocco,” he said in a statement.

“The United States is ready to provide any necessary assistance to our Moroccan partners as they respond to this tragedy.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also expressed his solidarity with Morocco.

“My thoughts are with everyone affected by the terrible earthquake in Morocco last night,” he said in a post on X.

“The UK stands ready to support our Moroccan friends.”

President William Ruto said his country stood with the people of Morocco as they dealt with the devastating effects of the quake.

“Kenya stands with the people of Morocco as they deal with the devastating effects of the earthquake that struck their nation Friday night. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected,” he said in a message on X.

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