The earthquake has caused a lot of damage and death in Morocco. The number of deaths and injuries keeps going up as rescue workers dig out both dead and living people from towns that have been turned into rubble.
Moroccan and foreign law enforcement and aid workers have arrived in the area south of Marrakech that was hardest hit by the magnitude 6.8 earthquake and several aftershocks Friday night. People have been given food and water in most places, and most of the big rocks that were blocking steep mountain roads have been moved. But there are still worries about cover, especially since it is supposed to rain early this week.
WHERE ARE THE MOST AFFECTED PLACES?
Moulay Brahim is near the centre of the quake. Late Friday night, a rare and strong earthquake hit Morocco. More than 800 people died, and buildings from towns in the Atlas Mountains to the old city of Marrakech were damaged. But the full number of deaths wasn’t known because rescues were having trouble getting to the hardest-hit mountain towns because the roads were full of rocks.
A look at the earthquakes that killed the most people in the last 25 years. Rayan and Ali, two Moroccan boys, walk through the rubble of their earthquake-damaged home in Ijjoukak village, near Marrakech, Morocco, on Saturday, September 9, 2023. Morocco was hit by a rare and strong earthquake that woke people up and knocked down buildings in mountain towns and old cities that weren’t made to survive such force.
More than 2,000 people die in Morocco because of a strong earthquake, and some old buildings in Marrakech are damaged.
Residents of the village of Moulay Brahim outside Marrakech, Morocco, leave their homes after an earthquake on Saturday, September 9, 2023. Moulay Brahim is close to the centre of the quake. Late Friday night, a rare and strong earthquake hit Morocco. More than 800 people died, and buildings from towns in the Atlas Mountains to the old city of Marrakech were damaged. But the full number of deaths wasn’t known because rescues were having trouble getting to the hardest-hit mountain towns because the roads were full of rocks.
Villagers in Morocco are sad after an earthquake destroys their mountain home in the country
The centre was high in the Atlas Mountains, about 44 miles south of Marrakech in the province of Al Haouz. The area is mostly country, with red-rock mountains, beautiful canyons, and streams and lakes that sparkle. Most of Morocco was shaken by the earthquake, and people were hurt and killed in other areas, such as Marrakech, Taroudant, and Chichaoua.
As of Tuesday, 2,901 people had died. According to Morocco’s 2014 census, 1,643 of those deaths were in Al Haouz, an area with about 570,000 people. In some towns, like Tafeghaghte, people say that more than half of the people died.
People speak a mix of Arabic and Tachelhit, which is the most popular native language in Morocco. Clay and mud brick towns built into the sides of mountains have been destroyed.
On Sunday, Moroccans felt an aftershock as they prayed for the victims of the country’s biggest earthquake in more than a century and worked to save lives while troops and workers brought water and supplies to desperate mountain towns in ruins.
Most of the people who died have been buried already. The government says that 2,501 people were hurt.
WHO IS GIVING HELP?
Morocco sent medics, relief teams, and forces to the area to help with the reaction to the disaster. Aid groups said that the government hasn’t asked for help in a big way and has only taken a small amount of help from other countries.
The Interior Ministry said it would accept foreign help for search and rescue from non-governmental organisations, Spain, Qatar, Britain, and the United Arab Emirates, but not from French President Emmanuel Macron or U.S. President Joe Biden.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO TO HELP?
Experts say that the best way to help those who have been hurt in the city of Marrakech and in the country areas of the Atlas Mountains is to give money to groups that are already working there. This includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which quickly sent $1.1 million from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to help the Moroccan Red Crescent with aid operations in the country. It also includes World Central Kitchen, Doctors Without Borders, and GlobalGiving, which set up a Morocco Earthquake Relief Fund and had raised more than $500,000 by Tuesday morning.
WHAT MAKES MARRAKECH OLD?
Parts of the walls that circle Marrakech’s old city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and was built in the 1200s, broke and fell down because of the earthquake. Videos showed dust coming out of parts of the Koutoubia Mosque, which is one of the most famous historical places in the city.
The city is the most popular place to visit in Morocco. It is known for its castles, spice shops, madrasas, and Jemaa El Fna, a busy square with food sellers and singers.
HOW DIFFERENT IS THIS FROM OTHER QUAKES?
The quake on Friday was the biggest one in Morocco in more than a hundred years. Even though this kind of earthquake is rare, it isn’t the deadliest in the country: About 60 years ago, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit Morocco’s western coast, killing more than 12,000 people and destroying the city of Agadir, which is southwest of Marrakech. Morocco changed its building rules after that earthquake, but many buildings, especially homes in rural areas, are not made to survive such force.
The U.S. Geological Survey says that there had not been an earthquake bigger than magnitude 6.0 within 310 miles (500 km) of Friday’s tremor for at least a century. More earthquakes happen in northern Morocco. In 2004, one had a magnitude of 6.4, and in 2016, one had a magnitude of 6.3.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey this year killed more than 50,000 people. Most of the worst earthquakes in recent history have been above magnitude 7.0. For example, an earthquake in Nepal in 2015 that killed over 8,800 people and an earthquake in China in 2008 that killed 87,500 people were both above magnitude 7.0.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO NEXT?
Teams are using mountain roads to get to the towns that were hit the hardest by the earthquake. This means that emergency response efforts are likely to continue. Many places don’t have enough food, water, power, or places to live. But after the aid workers and police leave, the hundreds of thousands of people who live there will probably still have problems.
At the request of King Mohammed VI, the Moroccan Parliament met on Monday to set up a government fund for earthquake relief. After the attack, Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch said that the government would pay the victims and help them get back on their feet. The head of Morocco’s House of Councils, Enaam Mayara, said that it would probably take five or six years to rebuild some of the places that were damaged.