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Powerful 6.8 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Morocco

RABAT: Quake in Morocco’s High Atlas kills 820+, ruins many buildings.

On Saturday, state media in Morocco cited an updated first casualty toll from the Interior Ministry and stated that there were 670 injured. Most fatalities occur in mountainous regions that are difficult to access, a local official told a news agency.

Residents of Marrakech, the closest major city to the epicenter, said that some structures in the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, had collapsed. Local television broadcast images of a toppled mosque minaret with debris lying on crumpled automobiles.

In its broadcast statement regarding the death toll, the Interior Ministry advised calm and said that the earthquake had struck the provinces of Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant.

About 70 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Marrakech is the mountainous region of Ighil, which has a few tiny farming settlements. At little after 11 p.m. (2200 GMT), the earthquake occurred.

Since an earthquake in Al Hoceima in the northern Rif mountains killed over 600 people in 2004, this one is the deadliest to strike Morocco.

People in Marrakech were laboriously clearing the wreckage by hand while they waited for heavy machinery after some of the houses in the densely populated old city had collapsed.

Large breaches were visible on one section of the medieval city wall as well as parts of the wall that had fallen, leaving rubble on the street.

According to Reporters, residents of Rabat, which is located 350 kilometers (220 miles) to the north of Ighil, and Imsouane, a coastal town 180 kilometers to the west, also left their homes out of concern for a bigger earthquake.

Social media videos of the early aftermath of the earthquake showed people frantically leaving malls, eateries, and residential buildings and gathering outside.

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