The death toll resulting from the powerful earthquake that struck Morocco has surged to 1,037, according to statements from the Interior Ministry reported by state television on Saturday. The earthquake, which caused extensive destruction, struck the High Atlas mountains in Morocco late on Friday night. Marrakech, the closest city to the epicenter, witnessed damage to historic buildings, while the most severely affected areas were in the nearby mountains.
The Interior Ministry disclosed that the earthquake, which had a magnitude of 6.8 as measured by the US Geological Survey (USGS), originated approximately 72 km (45 miles) southwest of Marrakech. In the village of Amizmiz, near the epicenter, rescue teams worked tirelessly, using their hands to sift through the debris left in the quake’s wake.
One resident, Mohamed Azaw, shared his harrowing experience: “When I felt the earth shaking beneath my feet and the house leaning, I rushed to get my kids out. But my neighbors couldn’t. Unfortunately, no one was found alive in that family. The father and son were found dead, and they are still looking for the mother and the daughter.”
In Amizmiz, approximately 20 individuals, including firefighters and soldiers in uniform, could be seen atop a collapsed house, diligently working to clear rubble and recover belongings.
The earthquake, which occurred at around 11 p.m. (2200 GMT), affected a broad swath of the High Atlas mountain range. Its tremors were felt as far away as Huelva and Jaen in Andalusia, southern Spain, as reported by Spanish television RTVE.
Footage from street cameras in Marrakech captured the moment when the earth began to shake. People suddenly looked around, jumped up, and others sought shelter in an alleyway before fleeing as dust and debris rained down around them.