Powerful Earthquake Hits Morocco, Killing 296 People

At least 296 people were killed after a powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Morocco on Friday night, the interior ministry said. Residents posted videos showing buildings reduced to rubble and dust and parts of the famous red walls that surround the old city in historic Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage site, damaged.

People take shelter outside their homes after an earthquake in Rabat, Morocco. (AP)
People take shelter outside their homes after an earthquake in Rabat, Morocco. (AP)

“According to a provisional report, the earthquake killed 296 people in the provinces and municipalities of al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that 153 people were injured and hospitalized.

Tourists and others posted videos of people screaming and evacuating restaurants in the city as throbbing club music played.

Top updates on Morocco earthquake:

  • The US Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 when it hit at 11:11pm, with shaking that lasted several seconds. Morocco’s National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network measured it at 7 on the Richter scale. The US agency reported a magnitude-4.9 aftershock hit 19 minutes later.
  • The earthquake damaged buildings in major cities and sending panicked people pouring into streets and alleyways from the capital Rabat to Marrakech, the county’s most visited tourist destination.
  • The epicenter of Friday’s tremor was high in the Atlas Mountains roughly 70 kilometers south of Marrakech. It was also near Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa and Oukaimeden, a popular Moroccan ski resort. The USGS said the epicenter was 18 kilometers below the Earth’s surface, while Morocco’s seismic agency put it at 8 kilometers down.
  • 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, which oversees emergency response.
  • Offering condolences, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he is extremely pained by the loss of lives due to an earthquake in Morocco. “In this tragic hour, my thoughts are with the people of Morocco. Condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest. India is ready to offer all possible assistance to Morocco in this difficult time,” Modi wrote on X (formally Twitter).
  • Variations in early measurements are common, although either reading would be Morocco’s strongest in years. Though earthquakes are relatively rare in North Africa, a magnitude 5.8 tremor struck near Agadir and caused thousands of deaths in 1960.

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  • A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Morocco, resulting in the deaths of at least 296 people.
  • Buildings in major cities, including Marrakech, were damaged and residents posted videos showing the destruction.
  • The earthquake’s epicenter was in the Atlas Mountains, and it was felt as far away as Portugal and Algeria.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences and pledged assistance to Morocco.
  • This is one of the strongest earthquakes in Morocco in years, with a magnitude 5.8 tremor causing thousands of deaths in 1960.

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