Over 1,000 Dead After Powerful Earthquake Strikes Morocco

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An intense earthquake in Morocco on Friday killed over 1,000 people and injured hundreds more, Reuters reported.

Rescue workers are scrambling to find survivors after buildings came crashing down in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains during the earthquake that took place late Friday night, Reuters reported. At a magnitude of 6.8 and an epicenter of 45 miles, it is the country’s deadliest earthquake in over six decades.

“When I felt the earth shaking beneath my feet and the house leaning, I rushed to get my kids out. But my neighbors couldn’t,” Mohamed Azaw, a rescue worker, said to Reuters. “Unfortunately no one was found alive in that family. The father and son were found dead and they are still looking for the mother and the daughter.”

Morocco’s Interior Ministry said that approximately 1,037 people are dead and an additional 672 are injured in the aftermath of the earthquake, according to Reuters. In cities near the epicenter of the quake such as Marrakech, Amizmiz, Asni and Taroudant, residents described their efforts to stay alive during the disaster.

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“The earth shook for about 20 seconds. Doors opened and shut by themselves as I rushed downstairs from the second floor,” Taroudant resident Hamid Afkar said to Reuters.

“Our neighbors are under the rubble and people are working hard to rescue them using available means in the village,” Montasir Itri, a resident of Asni, said to Reuters.

“I still can’t sleep in the house because of the shock and also because the old town is made up of old houses,” Jaouhari Mohamed, a Marrakech resident, told Reuters.

Turkey, which grappled with an earthquake in February that killed 50,000 people, pledged support to Morocco in the aftermath of the disaster. Algeria said it would open airspace for medical and humanitarian flights, despite having cut ties with Morocco a year ago.

“On behalf of the people of the United States, I express my deep sadness at the loss of life and destruction caused by yesterday’s earthquake in Morocco and extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of those affected,” Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, said in a statement. “The United States is ready to provide any necessary assistance as Morocco responds to this tragedy. Our thoughts are with the Moroccan people, and we offer our unwavering support and solidarity to our Moroccan partners at this tragic time.”

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