Home NEWS Morocco earthquake toll crosses 1,000, more than 700 ‘critical’ | Top Updates...

Morocco earthquake toll crosses 1,000, more than 700 ‘critical’ | Top Updates | World News

The death toll from a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Morocco on Friday night surpassed 1,000, Reuters reported citing state television. The toll is expected to climb further even as frantic search and rescue operations continued, searching for survivors in dust and rubble.

A cat walks through the rubble after an earthquake in Moulay Ibrahim village, near Marrakech, Morocco, Saturday.(AP)

The Interior Ministry of Morocco on Saturday morning confirmed at least 1,037 fatalities, mostly in tourist city of Marrakech and five provinces near the quake’s epicentreand another 1,204 people were injured. (Morocco Earthquake LIVE updates)

Photos and videos emerged from different parts of the country, showing panic-stricken people woken by the quake, running into the streets in terror and disbelief after being as the strongest quake in 120 years struck the North African country. The country’s infrastructure suffered extensive damage as its ancient cities with stone and masonry structures were vulnerable to earthquakes.

Top updates on the Morocco earthquake:

1)Algeria, which broke off ties with Morocco last year, said Saturday that it would open airspace for humanitarian and medical flights to and from earthquake-hit Morocco. Algeria had earlier offered “its sincere condolences to the brotherly Moroccan people for the victims of the earthquake”, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2)Of the total injured, 721 people are in critical condition, the interior ministry said. It also noted that of the casualties noted so far, more than a half happened in Al-Haouz, the epicenter, and Taroudant provinces.

3)In the wake of the disaster, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI ordered the armed forces to mobilise air and land assets, specialised search and rescue teams and a surgical field hospital, according to a statement from the military. While the world has offered condolences and assistance to Morocco, its government is yet to formally ask for assistance, a step required before outside rescue crews could deploy.

4)In addition to world leaders, Pope Francis conveyed his support and solidarity with Moroccans. “The pope expresses his profound solidarity with those who are touched in the flesh and heart by this tragedy,” read a telegram sent to Morocco by the Vatican’s Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.

5)Local media has reported that rescue efforts are facing hindrances due to congested roads leading to the mountain region around the epicenter, with vehicles and rocks blocking the way. Following the quake, weak aftershocks were recorded at the epicentre of the earthquake in the Al Haouz region, Nasser Jabour, director of Morocco’s National Institute of Geophysics, said on national broadcaster SNRT. He also urged citizens to stay calm, according to Hespress.

6)As of Saturday morning, the full extent of the damage to Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage site popular with tourists, remained unclear. While most of the main historic sites in the old city appeared largely unscathed, unverified videos emerged online, depicting cracks and fallen debris in a small section of the medieval walls, along with a collapsed minaret.

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