African leaders offer condolences to earthquake-hit Morocco

Leaders of several African countries extended condolences to Morocco, as a deadly earthquake in the North African country killed at least 2,012 people and left 2,059 others injured.

In a statement, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu said: “Nigeria will continue to stand in solidarity with Morocco as they recover, rebuild and come out stronger than ever from this unfortunate event.”

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said: “On behalf of all Rwandans, I express our deepest sympathy and solidarity with King Mohammed VI, the families of the victims and the people of Morocco in this moment of profound tragedy.”

“Rwanda stands with Morocco in this difficult time,” he added.

In a statement, Kenyan President William Ruto said: “Kenya stands with the people of Morocco as they deal with the devastating effects of the earthquake that struck their nation.”

On behalf of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was attending the G-20 summit in New Delhi, Deputy President Paul Mashatile said: “We are deeply saddened by the shocking loss of life and extend our deepest sympathies to the people of Morocco, and wish all survivors strength and a speedy recovery.”

Mashatile praised the efforts of the emergency response institutions in Morocco and said he has full confidence that the country will unite in its response and emerge even stronger following the disaster.

The magnitude-7 quake occurred in various regions of Morocco late Friday, including El-Houz, Taroudant, Chichaoua, Tiznit, Marrakech, Azilal, Agadir, Casablanca and Youssoufia, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The quake was the strongest tremor to hit the North African country in the last century, according to Morocco’s National Geophysical Institute.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicenter of the earthquake, which hit just after 11 p.m. local time, was 75 kilometers (46.6 miles) southeast of Marrakech, at a depth of 18.5 kilometers.

The situation was said to be particularly dire in the Marrakesh region where buildings were said to have collapsed and residents trapped under debris.

Media reporters said buildings, including the famous red walls that surround the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage, were damaged.

The Royal Armed Forces urged citizens to exercise caution and directed them toward safe areas to shield them from aftershocks.

Tremors were also felt in neighboring Algeria and Mauritania.

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