A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Morocco on Friday night, killing at least 632 people and injuring over 150, according to official sources. The quake, which was the strongest to hit the region in more than 120 years, also caused widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure, especially in the historic city of Marrakesh.
The earthquake occurred shortly after 11 pm local time at a relatively shallow depth of 18.5 kilometers, with the epicenter located about 72 kilometers southwest of Marrakesh, a city of some 840,000 people and a popular tourist destination. The tremors were felt from Rabat to Agadir, and even across the Strait of Gibraltar in Spain.
The Moroccan authorities have declared a state of emergency and mobilized rescue teams to search for survivors and provide assistance to the affected areas. The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and ordered the government to provide all necessary support.
The earthquake is Morocco’s deadliest since a 2004 tremor near Al Hoceima in the northern Rif mountains killed over 600 people. It is also a reminder of the seismic risk that Morocco faces due to its location near the boundary of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates.