Over 600 people were killed and hundreds more sustained injuries following a powerful earthquake that struck Morocco, the country’s Interior Ministry said Saturday.
Fatalities from the magnitude 7.0 quake occurred in various regions, including Al Haouz and Marrakesh provinces, as well as the cities of Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant, Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces wrote on X, citing the interior minister.
The earthquake was the strongest tremor to hit the North African country in the last century, the National Geophysical Institute said.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicenter of the earthquake, which hit just after 11 p.m. local time (22:00 GMT), was 75 kilometers (46.6 miles) southeast of Marrakech, at a depth of 18.5 km.
Videos on social media captured the immediate aftermath and showed residents spilling out onto the streets.
The situation was said to be particularly dire in the Marrakech region, where numerous buildings were said to be collapsed and residents trapped under debris.
Local media said some buildings, including the famous red walls that surround the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage, were damaged.
Armed forces issued warnings to citizens, urging them to exercise caution and directing them toward safe areas to shield them from aftershocks.
Tremors were also felt in neighbouring Algeria and Mauritania.
The Turkish Red Crescent said it is following the developments closely, and was in coordination with the international aid group and others in the region.
In 2004, more than 600 people were killed and many others injured when a magnitude 6.3 quake hit northeastern Morocco.