Earthquake kills over 1000 people in Morocco

Morocco Earthquake has caused damage in Marrakech

More than 1,000 people have died and another 672 injured after earthquake struck in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains late on Friday.

The quake was recorded at a depth of 18.5 km, typically more destructive than deeper quakes of the same magnitude, Reuters reported. It was Morocco’s deadliest earthquake since 1960 when a quake was estimated to have killed at least 12,000 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Reuters reported that the epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh at a depth of 18.5km.

“[The quake] damaged historic buildings in Marrakech – the nearest city to the epicentre – while most of the fatalities were reported in mountainous areas to the south,” Reuters reported.

The World Health Organization said more than 300,000 people were affected in Marrakech and surrounding areas.

Reuters also reported that all the houses in the area of Asni, some 40 km south of Marrakech, were damaged, and villagers were preparing to spend the night outside. Food was in short supply as roofs had collapsed on kitchens, said villager Mohamed Ouhammo.

Montasir Itri, a resident of Asni, told the news site that the search was on for survivors.

“Our neighbours are under the rubble and people are working hard to rescue them using available means in the village,” he said.

The BBC reported that the quake that has hit Morocco will be related to the thrusting and faulting that continues to push up the Atlas Mountains.

According to the BBC, Morocco is not really the place where powerful earthquakes occur.

“Most of the earthquake activity from this slow (4mm/year) geological “car crash” is further east in the Mediterranean, around Italy, Greece and towards Turkey.

“In terms of history, there has been nothing bigger than a magnitude 6.0 within 500km (300 miles) of Friday night’s epicentre since before 1900,” the BBC reported.