A powerful earthquake in Morocco has killed more than 800 people and injured hundreds more, destroying buildings and sending residents of major cities rushing from their homes in the country’s deadliest tremor in more than six decades.
The magnitude 7.2 quake struck in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains late on Friday night. The Interior Ministry said 820 people had been killed and another 672 injured, in an updated casualty toll. A local official said most deaths were in mountain areas that were hard to reach.
In Marrakech, the nearest big city to the epicentre, residents spent the night in the open, afraid to go home.
Buildings in the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, suffered damage. A mosque minaret had fallen in Jemaa al-Fna Square, the heart of Marrakech’s old city. Rescue workers dug through the rubble.
“Everything is by God’s will, but we sustained great harm,” said Miloud Skrout, a resident.
Some 150 people, mostly relatives of the injured, were waiting outside a local hospital. Most had come from mountainous areas outside the city as their local hospitals lack capacity to treat serious injuries.
“I still can’t sleep in the house because of the shock and also because the old town is made up of old houses,” said Jaouhari Mohamed, a resident of Marrakech old city, describing desperate scenes as people fled for safety.