February 29, 2024

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Morocco earthquake latest updates: Death toll rises to more than 2,100

Emergency workers search under a badly damaged house on Sunday in Moulay Brahim, Morocco. (Carl Cort/Getty Images)

ASNI (Morocco) – The Moroccan Interior Ministry has accepted search and rescue assistance from Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the United Kingdom, as authorities and relief organizations continue to search for survivors of a 6.8-magnitude earthquake that destroyed homes and property. Life was shattered throughout the High Atlas Mountains.

Moroccan authorities said on Sunday that more than 2,122 people were killed and more than 2,400 others were injured, with the death toll expected to rise.

Here are the latest developments in the devastating earthquake that struck Morocco:

This is the strongest earthquake to hit the region in more than a century. The US Geological Survey (USGS) said in preliminary a report. She added that earthquakes of this size are “uncommon but not unexpected,” adding that no earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 6 have occurred since 1900.

The earthquake occurred about 47 miles southeast of Marrakesh, at a depth of about 11 miles. Put it in category A shallow earthquake, The type that tends to be more destructive. More than 300,000 people in Marrakesh and its suburbs were affected by the disaster. according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

At least four French citizens were killed and about 15 others were injured, according to preliminary assessments of the earthquake’s impact. French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna Tell BFM TV early on Monday. She said that the French authorities are still searching for a small number of French citizens. France, the former colonial ruler of Morocco, would give 5 million euros ($5.4 million) to nonprofit organizations on the ground to support search and rescue efforts, Colonna said.

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Americans were injured in the earthquake, but the State Department is not aware of the death of any American citizens at this time. a spokesperson wrote Sunday in an unsigned email. The spokesman said: “We are aware of the existence of a small number of US citizens who were injured in the earthquake, and we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.” “Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment regarding infected US citizens,” he added.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke on Sunday with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita. According to a statement by State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller: “The Secretary and Foreign Minister Bourita discussed how the United States can better support the leadership of the Government of Morocco in the humanitarian response to this tragedy.” “We’re waiting for word from the Moroccan government on how we can help, where we can help, but we’re ready to go,” Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday morning.

The most affected areas are among the poorest in MoroccoWith some homes lacking electricity or running water, even in better times. “The reality is that the moment you get out of Marrakesh, people live as if they went back to the Middle Ages because of the absence of the state,” said Samia Razouqi, an expert on Moroccan history and governance at Stanford University. .

Buildings collapse more than a day after the earthquake. In one destroyed home in the town of Amizmiz, traces of its former residents can be seen among the rubble: velvet blankets, suitcases, carpets, and sagging mattresses sagging under the weight of what was once the second-floor ceiling. Most of the inhabitants of this town sought higher ground, where there were stretches of flat, dry land on which to pitch tents.

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In Marrakesh, people described desperate evacuations as walls collapsed around them. Videos On social media, it showed Marrakech’s largest minaret swaying as people below ran away. Elsewhere in the city, residents covered their mouths from the dusty air and reached out to each other for support as they moved through narrow alleys in pitch darkness.

“The situation is now stable.” It was Sunday afternoon, said Yaqubi Abdel Hadi, a doctor at a medical center near the epicenter, as Red Cross and Red Crescent aid workers transferred women bound by an IV to waiting ambulances. “But since people have not yet come from remote areas, we are on high alert to prepare for what might come.”

About 19.3 million people were exposed to the earthquake, according to US Geological Survey data released Saturday morning. Mobile phone networks in the worst affected areas have stopped working, leaving family members across the country and around the world anxiously awaiting news.

Ibn Hamid bin Henna died after an earthquake struck Morocco on September 8. Bin Hanaa said that he was not able to recover his son’s body until the next day. (Video: Reuters)

Several countries and groups have offered assistance to Morocco – included Francethe United kingdom, Germany, India, China, Austria It was destroyed by the earthquake turkey. Algeria also offered to reopen its airspace to help deliver aid and medical evacuations, the Associated Press reported. mentioned. Algeria closed its airspace to Morocco in 2021, amid a long-term dispute over Western Sahara.

The US Embassy in Rabat warned that hospitals in Marrakesh and other major cities “have limited capacity.” and this is He said Hospitals in the most affected areas “may become overwhelmed.”

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More of our correspondents

“The world ended for me”: This Moroccan family lost everything in the earthquake. Saeed Afozar was at his sister’s house when the earthquake occurred. As soon as the ground began to shake, he ran into the street to reach his wife and two children, Claire Parker and Sima Diab from Amizmiz, Morocco.

The moment he reached for the doorknob, the house collapsed.

Afozar could hear his family screaming for help. He began digging frantically through the rubble, continuing to push even after an object that fell on him caught his knee. Neighbors joined him. By 2 a.m., they were able to pull his wife out from under the rubble. At around 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, they reached his children. It was too late.

Lovelac reported from London, Mahfouz from Cairo, and Timset from Paris. Berger and Rosenzweig Ziff in Washington contributed to this report.