Morocco Earthquake Relief Efforts: Coming Together to Heal 296 Wounds

 Morocco Earthquake Relief Efforts: Coming Together to Heal 296 Wounds

Morocco Earthquake 2023: Latest News


On September 9, 2023, a powerful earthquake struck Morocco, causing significant damage and loss of life. The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 according to the US Geological Survey, while Morocco’s National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network measured it at 7 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was located high in the Atlas Mountains, roughly 70 kilometers south of Marrakech, near Toubkal and Oukaimeden.

The Interior Ministry reported that at least 296 people had died in the provinces near the quake, with 153 injured people sent to hospitals for treatment. Most of the damage occurred outside of cities and towns, with many buildings reduced to rubble and dust. Parts of the famous red walls that surround the old city in Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage site, were also damaged.

Reports on damage and casualties often take time to filter in after earthquakes, particularly those that hit in the middle of the night. Despite this, many people chose to stay out in the streets rather than return to concrete buildings, fearing aftershocks and other reverberations that could cause their homes to sway.

The quake was felt as far away as Portugal and Algeria, according to the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere and Algeria’s Civil Defense agency. The USGS reported a magnitude-4.9 aftershock hit 19 minutes later, while Morocco’s seismic agency put the epicenter at 8 kilometers below the Earth’s surface.

While earthquakes are relatively rare in North Africa, a magnitude 5.8 tremor struck near Agadir and caused thousands of deaths in 1960. Despite variations in early measurements, either reading of the magnitude would make this quake Morocco’s strongest in years.

As of early Saturday, neither Moroccan officials nor MAP, Morocco’s official news agency, had published any information about casualties or damages beyond the Interior Ministry’s initial report. Government officials typically use the agency to communicate information about important matters.