The earthquake occurred in Ighil, in the High Atlas Mountains, about 70 kilometers southwest of Marrakechat 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.
This Saturday (9), the Moroccan government declared official mourning for three days. The Armed Forces announced that they will send supplies, tents and blankets to the affected areas.
“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 news agency.
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 earthquake’s magnitude at 6.8. Morocco’s geophysical center, in turn, said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.2.
According to the American institute, The earthquake is already the deadliest in the country since 1960, when an earthquake killed 12,000 peopleand also the most intense in 100 years, given that magnitude 6.8 is rare to be reached in Morocco.
At ancient city of Marrakechone UNESCO World Heritage densely populated, 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 had been a ten-minute power outage. “People were panicking. Children were crying, parents were helpless.”
People in the capital, Rabat, and the coastal city of Imsouane, both near the epicenter, also fled their homes in fear of a stronger earthquake., according to Reuters witnesses. Montasir Itri, a resident of Asni village, said most of the houses were damaged. “Our neighbors are under the rubble and people are working hard to rescue them using whatever means are available,” he said.
Morocco often 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 earthquake in El Asnam, Algeriawith a magnitude of 7.3, was one of the most destructive earthquakes in contemporary history. Resulted in the deaths of 2,500 people and left at least 300,000 people homeless.