At least 2,000 people have been killed and more than 2,000 injured after a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Morocco overnight on Friday. This was the strongest quake to hit the North African country in 123 years. Morocco has declared three days of national mourning following the quake.
The epicenter was located in the Moroccan High Atlas mountain range, about 46 miles/72 kilometers southeast of Marrakech.
The historic Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh, Morocco, remained intact even though nearby buildings collapsed due to the earthquake.
Video footage posted online from the affected region depicts people, dazed and panicked, scrambling for safety. They navigated through dark streets, surrounded by clouds of dust, seeking refuge.
President Biden stated, “I am deeply saddened by the loss of life in Morocco. We are working diligently to ensure the safety of American citizens in Morocco and are prepared to offer any necessary assistance to the Moroccan people.”
The United States Secretary of State issued a press statement: “On behalf of the people of the United States, I express my profound sorrow over the loss of life and the destruction caused by yesterday’s earthquake in Morocco. I extend heartfelt condolences to the families affected. The United States stands ready to assist Morocco as they cope with this tragedy. Our thoughts are with the Moroccan people, and we offer our steadfast support and solidarity to our Moroccan partners during this grievous time.”
This is reportedly the most potent earthquake ever recorded in this region of the Atlas Mountains. In 1960, a quake near the coastal city of Agadir claimed the lives of between 12,000 and 15,000 people.