Earthquake in Morocco leaves at least 1,037 dead

A strong earthquake hit Morocco on Friday night (8) and left at least 1,037 people dead and 1,200 injured, according to the most up-to-date information from state media. The number of victims, which already makes this shock the deadliest in 63 years, is still preliminary, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

O earthquake occurred in Ighil, in the High Atlas Mountains, about 70 kilometers southwest of Marrakech, at a depth of 18.5 kilometers, at 11:11 pm local time (7:11 pm in Brasília). According to authorities, the deaths are concentrated in the provinces and municipalities of Al Hauz, Marrakech, Ouarzazat, Azilal, Chichaoua and Tarudant. Videos shared on social media show scenes of devastation.

“The earth shook for about 20 seconds. The doors opened and closed by themselves as I ran down from the second floor,” Hamid Afkir, a teacher in a mountainous area west of the epicenter, near the town of Taroudant, told Reuters. .

The vice-governor of Ceará, Jade Romero, and the vice-governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Gabriel Souza, were in Marrakech with their respective delegations for the World Geoparks Meeting. “Our entire delegation from the Government of the State of Ceará is well and in a safe place,” said Romero on X, formerly Twitter. Souza’s team is also protected and should return to Brazil this Saturday (9), according to the politician’s advisors.

Itamaraty reported that there is no news of Brazilians killed or injured so far.

“The population in this region lives in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquakes”, said the United States Geological Survey, which estimated the magnitude of the earthquake at 6.8. Morocco’s geophysical center, in turn, said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.2. According to the North American institute, the earthquake is already the deadliest in the country since 1960.when an earthquake caused the death of 12 thousand people.

In the ancient city of Marrakech, a densely populated UNESCO World Heritage Site, houses collapsed and a wall had s and destroyed sections. Overnight, people were trying to manually remove the rubble while waiting for suitable equipment, Id Waaziz Han, a resident, told Reuters.

“I saw the buildings moving”, Abdelhak el Amrani, from Marrakech, told AFP, who said there was a ten-minute power outage. “People were panicking. Children were crying, parents were helpless.”

Morocco frequently experiences earthquakes in its northern region due to its location between the African and Eurasian plates. In 2004, at least 628 people died and 926 were injured when an earthquake hit Alhucemas, in the northeast of the country. In 1980, the earthquake in El Asnam, Algeria, with a magnitude of 7.3, was one of the most destructive earthquakes in contemporary history. It resulted in the deaths of 2,500 people and left at least 300,000 people homeless.

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