A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.8 has struck central Morocco, killing at least 632 people, the country’s interior ministry says.
The epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh, at a depth of 18.5km, the US Geological Survey said.
The quake struck at 23:11 local time (22:11 GMT) on Friday. There was a 4.9 aftershock 19 minutes later.
People died in Marrakesh and several areas to the south, the ministry said.
Many of the victims are believed to be in remote areas.
The interior ministry said the earthquake killed people in the provinces and municipalities of al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant, adding that at least 329 people have been injured.
🚨 A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Morocco last night resulting in over 632 people killed and hundreds more injured.
— muslim daily (@muslimdaily_) September 9, 2023
Many people spent the night out in the open as the Moroccan government had warned them not to go back into their homes in case of severe aftershocks.
Hospitals in Marrakesh have seen an influx of injured people, and the authorities have called on residents to donate blood.
There are also reports of families trapped under the rubble of their homes in the city, and damage to parts of the Medina, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Some buildings have collapsed, one resident told the Reuters news agency. Several clips on X show buildings crashing down, but the BBC has not identified where they were.
Dust could also be seen surrounding the minaret of the historic Kutubiyya mosque in Marrakesh, a major tourist attraction near the old city’s main square.
One man described feeling a “violent tremor” and seeing “buildings moving”.
#BREAKING Morocco earthquake: 632 killed as buildings damaged
— xPressUpdates (@xpressupdates) September 9, 2023
“People were all in shock and panic. The children were crying and the parents were distraught,” Abdelhak El Amrani told the AFP agency.
He said power and phone lines were down for 10 minutes.
Marrakesh resident Fayssal Badour had been driving when the quake hit.
“I stopped and realised what a disaster it was,” he told AFP. “The screaming and crying was unbearable.”
THANK YOU for constantly reading stories on TodayGhanaMedia.com, news publishing website from Ghana. Kindly like, follow, comment, and SHARE stories on all social media platforms for more entertaining updates!
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/
Admission is still in progress… Get yourself trained in any of our programmes to become a professional healthcare practitioner. Apply now! visit: racoh.edu.gh
Send your news stories to firstname.lastname@example.org