Powerful earthquake killed nearly 300 in Morocco

At least 296 dead and 153 injured in powerful 6.9 magnitude earthquake in central Morocco

At least 296 people were killed and 153 others were injured in different localities in Morocco as a result of a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that occurred overnight Friday, the Moroccan Interior Ministry said.

The epicenter of Friday’s tremor was located in the Atlas Mountains, approximately 70 kilometers south of Marrakech. It was also near Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, and Oukaimeden, a popular Moroccan ski resort.

Moroccans posted videos showing buildings reduced to rubble and dust, and parts of the famous red walls surrounding the ancient city of Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, damaged.

Reports of damage and casualties can often take time to filter in after many earthquakes, especially those occurring in the middle of the night.

Many remained on the streets, worried about aftershocks that could cause their homes to collapse.

According to the Moroccan authorities, who called on citizens to remain calm, the security and civil protection forces of all the affected prefectures and provinces were mobilized, as well as the necessary means to intervene and assess the damage.

According to witnesses, the tremor was felt in northern localities such as Larache, 550 kilometers from the epicenter, as well as in Casablanca and Rabat, 300 and 370 kilometers away, respectively, where their inhabitants took to the streets to prevent a possible second tremor.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) PAGER system, which provides preliminary assessments of the impact of earthquakes, issued an orange alert for economic losses, estimating that significant damage is likely.

Morocco experiences frequent earthquakes in its northern region due to its position between the African and Eurasian plates.

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