A devastating earthquake of magnitude 6.8 struck Morocco, resulting in the deaths of at least 1,000 people and leaving 1,200 others injured. The earthquake caused significant damage, including the collapse of buildings, in the region just south of the historic city of Marrakesh. This powerful earthquake is considered the most severe in Morocco in the past 120 years. Rescue workers continue to search remote areas near the epicenter in the village of Iguil, close to the Oukaimeden ski resort in the High Atlas Mountains, where strong earthquakes are uncommon but not unexpected.
The cities of Marrakesh, Al Haouz, Chihuahua, Ouarzazate, and Taroudant were particularly affected by the quake. Reports indicate that nearly 400 people lost their lives in Al Haouz, with additional casualties in Taroudant and Chichaoua. The collapse of buildings in the area is attributed to the type of construction used, as large-scale earthquakes are rare in this region. Photos and videos posted online depict buildings shaking and crumbling, causing extensive damage and raising clouds of dust.
In response to the disaster, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation postponed the men's national soccer team's qualifying match against Libya in the African Cup of Nations. Additionally, club defenseman Achraf Hakimi called for blood donations to assist those injured in the earthquake.
Notably, the High Atlas Mountains have experienced earthquakes in the past, including nine magnitude 5 earthquakes since 1990. However, earthquakes of the magnitude seen in this recent event have not occurred in the region since at least 1900.
This earthquake in Morocco follows a major quake that struck Syria and Turkey six months ago, resulting in the loss of at least 50,000 lives. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the earthquake as the "biggest disaster in the last century," prompting a significant humanitarian aid mission.
The severity of the earthquake in Morocco highlights the importance of preparedness and building construction in earthquake-prone regions. The focus now remains on rescue and recovery efforts as the death toll is expected to rise with ongoing search operations in remote areas.