Earthquake in Morocco’s Marrakech affects thousands, says WHO

Morocco’s deadly earthquake has affected more than 300,000 people in Marrakech city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Saturday.

At least 820 were killed and 672 others injured when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake jolted Morocco late Friday, according to the country’s Interior Ministry.

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.

The situation was said to be particularly dire in Marrakech, 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 were damaged.

“WHO expresses sincere condolences and support to the people of Morrocco affected by tragic earthquake that struck on 8 September, killing hundreds and affecting more than 300,000 people in Marrakech and surrounding areas,” WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean said in a statement.

WHO teams “are on standby to support the national response and ensure health services are quickly delivered where needed,” the statement said.

The earthquake was the strongest tremor to hit Morocco in the last century, the country’s National Geophysical Institute said.

Tremors were also felt in neighboring Algeria and Mauritania.

In 2004, more than 600 people were killed and many others injured when a magnitude 6.3 quake hit northeastern Morocco.

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