Rabat, 11 September 2023 (TDI): European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic expressed serious concern about the recent devastating earthquake in central Morocco. This natural disaster has inflicted a heavy toll on human life and caused widespread devastation.

The earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.8, struck the region late Friday, resulting in the loss of several hundred lives.

Terrified residents were forced to flee their homes as strong tremors shook the area, affecting not only the epicenter but also coastal cities like Rabat, Casablanca, and Essaouira.

Abdelhak El Amrani, a resident of Marrakesh, vividly described the unsettling experience of the earthquake, noting the unpreparedness of many in such a situation.

The earthquake, which occurred at 11:11 pm (2211 GMT), was located approximately 72 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of Marrakesh, as confirmed by the US Geological Survey.

Interior Ministry data revealed that the majority of casualties occurred in Al-Haouz and Taroudant provinces, with additional losses in Ouarzazate, Chichaoua, Azilal, Youssoufia, Marrakesh, Agadir, and the Casablanca area.

Presently, there are 329 reported injuries, with 51 individuals in critical condition. Faisal Baddour, an engineer residing in Marrakesh, recounted the scenes of panic and chaos that unfolded as residents rushed into the streets following the tremors.

Michael Bizet, a French property owner in the same district, described the situation as chaotic and catastrophic, emphasizing the extent of the turmoil.

Visual evidence and social media posts corroborate structural damage, including the collapse of a minaret on Jemaa el-Fna square in Marrakesh.

Houda Outassaf, a local resident revealed that he lost numerous family members in the disaster. He found it difficult to comprehend, as he had been with them only days before the earthquake.

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The US Geological Survey’s PAGER system issued a red alert, indicating a high likelihood of extensive economic losses, with extensive damage and a widespread disaster possibly necessitating a national or international response.

Moroccan media reported this earthquake as the most potent in the country’s history. International leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have extended their condolences.

The earthquake was also felt in neighboring Algeria, although it did not result in any damage or casualties. This tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the region’s susceptibility to seismic activity.

The EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre is vigilantly monitoring the situation and remains poised to provide assistance upon request.

The regional blood transfusion center in Marrakesh has appealed to residents to donate blood to aid those injured in this devastating earthquake.