Hundreds killed as rare, powerful earthquake devastates Morocco

King Mohammed VI ordered the military to mobilize as the 6.8 magnitude quake leveled most of the country.

Published: September 9, 2023 8:36am

A rare but powerful earthquake devastated Morocco, killing hundredstt of people and triggering a mad scramble Saturday by civilians and the military to rescue people still trapped in the rubble.

King Mohammed VI ordered the military to mobilize as the 6.8 magnitude quake, the most powerful in a century to strike Morocco, leveled communities from the historic city of Marrakech to mountainside villages.

Ayoub Toudite told The Associated Press he had been exercising at a gym when “we felt a huge shake like it was doomsday.” He emerged to find devastation everywhere.

“We found casualties and people running and kids crying,” he said. “We never saw anything like this, 20 deaths in the area, 30 injuries.

At least 820 people died, mostly in Marrakech and five provinces near the quake’s epicenter, Morocco’s Interior Ministry reported Saturday. Hundreds more were reported injured and casualty numbers were expected to rise since many areas had not been fully accessed by authorities.

The military deployed aircraft, helicopters and drones for the rescue efforts, aiding overwhelmed emergency services while communities set up field hospitals and encampments for the injured and displaced.

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