The death toll from a strong earthquake that struck Morocco Friday night has risen to 820, said the country’s Interior Ministry on Saturday.
The earthquake has also injured at least 672, according to the latest update from the ministry.
A 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Morocco Friday at 11:11 p.m. local time (2211 GMT) at a depth of 18.5 km, said the U.S. Geological Survey.
The epicenter of the earthquake was near the town of Ighil in Al Haouz Province, some 70 km southwest of Marrakesh.
This photo taken with a mobile phone shows residents taking shelter at an open space after an earthquake in Ouarzazate, Morocco, Sept. 9, 2023. (Xinhua/Wang Dongzhen)
The earthquake was felt in many cities across Morocco, including Rabat and Casablanca. Many houses collapsed in the cities of Taroudant and Marrakesh, local media reported.
The earthquake damaged many buildings in the old city of Marrakesh, the nearest big city to the epicenter, and many residents had to spend the night in the open space for fear of potential aftershocks, said Zhang Kai, an overseas Chinese living in Marrakesh.
Xinhua correspondents at Ouarzazate, about 190 kilometers southeast of Marrakesh, saw residents taking shelter in an open space after the earthquake.
“There have been earthquakes before, but none of them were as strong as this one,” said a resident in Ouarzazate who requires anonymity.
On the way from Ouarzazate to the epicenter, rocks and rubbles from the mountains and buildings were seen scattered along the road.
Rescuers have been sent to the quake-hit areas to search for survivors, local media reported.