A powerful earthquake that struck Morocco in the wee hours of Saturday has killed at least 632 people, the country’s Interior Ministry has announced.
Its the strongest recorded in the country in more than 120 years. At least, 320 more people were said to have been severely injured in the incident.
The ministry stated that most damage occurred outside of cities and towns. It noted that the death toll is likely to climb further.
Moroccans posted videos showing buildings reduced to rubble and dust and parts of the famous red walls that surround the old city in historic Marrakech, a Unesco World Heritage site, damaged.
Tourists and others posted videos of people screaming and evacuating restaurants in the city as throbbing club music played.
The earthquake, which measured 6.8 on the Richter scale struck Morocco’s Atlas Mountains and caused tremors as far away as Portugal, has wiped out entire families as witnesses describe ‘unbearable screaming and crying’.
Moroccon state TV reported the death toll had risen from an initial 300 to 632 early on Saturday. The epicentre was 40 miles south of the popular tourist city.
The ministry wrote that most damage occurred outside of cities and towns, and the United States Geological Survey warned that the death toll was likely to rise significantly, because rural buildings were not built to sustain such earthquakes.
More details to follow…