820 dead, 672 injured in Morocco earthquake

An earthquake that hit six provinces which include Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakesh, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant in Morocco on Friday night has led to the death of 820 people, and 672 sustaining various degrees of injuries.

Penpushing reports that the Interior Ministry confirmed the sad incident on Saturday, in a statement read by the country television station, adding that of those injured 205 were in a critical condition, as at the time of filing this report

The Interior Ministry televised statement disclosed that residents have fled into the streets for fear of their lives, calling for calm, just as report also has it that the earthquake destroyed buildings, cars amongst others.

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‘The Royal Armed Forces, local authorities, security services and civil protection … continue to mobilise and harness all means and capabilities in order to intervene, provide the necessary assistance, and assess the damage’, the interior ministry said.

Penpushing further reports that the United States Geological Survey (USGS), said the 6.8 magnitude earthquake near Oukaïmedene, Morocco, occurred due to oblique-reverse faulting at shallow depth within the Moroccan High Atlas Mountain range, roughly 75 km southeast of Marrakech.

The Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere and Algeria’s Civil Defense agency, however, pointed out that the Friday’s earthquake was felt as far away as Portugal and Algeria which oversees emergency response.

Penpushing also reports that Head of the Seismic Monitoring and Warning Department at the National Institute of Geophysics, Lahcen Mhanni, the earthquake was the strongest ever recorded in the mountain region.

The record, however, has it that earthquakes are relatively rare in North Africa, while in 1960, a magnitude 5.8 tremor struck near the Moroccan city of Agadir and caused thousands of deaths, and in 2004, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake near the Mediterranean coastal city of Al Hoceima left more than 600 dead.

Penpushing reports that Alarabiya, explained that the Agadir quake prompted changes in construction rules in Morocco, but many buildings, especially rural homes, are not built to withstand such tremors.

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