At least 632 killed as 6.8 earthquake rocks Marrakech sending terrified Brits fleeing & reducing buildings to rubble | The Sun

AT least 632 people have died after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Morocco, sending British tourists fleeing and turning historic landmarks to rubble.

The quake, which has injured at least 329, struck just after 11pm local time on Friday and sent people running from buildings in the streets of Marrakech.

The earthquake registered as a 6.8 on the Richter Scale at 11.11pm local time, according to The US Geological Survey.

The shaking lasted several seconds and a 4.9-magnitude aftershock was recorded 19 minutes later, in the country that welcomes around 700,000 British tourists every year.

Morocco tourist officials have predicted that the number of British tourists visiting the country is likely to reach one million in the years ahead, as the UK is the second largest source of tourists in the kingdom after France.

A British tourist caught up in the tragic disaster told The Sun Online: "We are at a resort, everyone has been evacuated out of the hotel, the property is damaged".

They also explained how they are currently being told to stay outside due to the aftershocks of the deadly earthquake.

One more Brit whose sister is currently stranded in Marrakech revealed that the streets are now lined with people, as old townhouses continue to crumble around her.

"She said the buildings are shaking and swaying, the old town has been completely demolished".

He also stated that his sister had been advised by the local authority to prepare for a potential second earthquake as "rows and rows and rows" of people line the street in hopes of finding safety.

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The quake's epicenter was in the Atlas Mountains, just over 40 miles south of Marrakech, according to the Geological Survey.

The epicenter was also near Oukaimeden, a popular ski resort, and Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.

In the hours after the quake, Morocco's Interior Ministry said that at least 632 people were dead with fears that the number would rise.

Another 329 people were injured and being treated at local hospitals.

Among those injured, a reported 51 were left in critical condition, state-run TV Al Aoula reported.

Many of the victims were in and south of Marrakesh.

There are also smaller mountain towns closer to the epicenter that officials have not yet shared updates on.

World leaders across the globe have offered their support to Morocco, with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, to write: "Extremely pained by the loss of lives due to an earthquake in Morocco.

"In this tragic hour, my thoughts are with the people of Morocco.

"Condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest.

"India is ready to offer all possible assistance to Morocco in this difficult time".

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez also offered his condolences to the relatives of the earthquake victims.

“All my solidarity and support to the people of Morocco in the wake of this terrible earthquake… Spain is with the victims of this tragedy and its families,” he wrote on X.

There are also smaller mountain towns closer to the epicenter that officials have not yet shared updates on.


Buildings and historical landmarks have been reduced to rubble with photos showing bricks covering cars and streets.

Parts of the red walls surrounding the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, have been damaged, according to CBS News.

However, the ministry said that most of the damage was recorded outside of towns and cities.

Officials are continuing to examine the extent of the destruction.

People were seen fleeing restaurants and buildings as the quake hit.

"I could see buildings moving," Abdelhak El Amrani told the Agence France-Presse.

"We don't necessarily have the reflexes for this type of situation. Then I went outside and there were a lot of people there. People were all in shock and panic.

"The children were crying and the parents were distraught."

Crowds stood in the street instead of retreating inside in case it was unsafe.

Most houses in the mountain village of Asni near the epicenter were damaged, Montasir Itri, a local resident, told Reuters.

“Our neighbours are under the rubble and people are working hard to rescue them using available means in the village,” he said.

Tremors were also felt further west near Taroudant, where a resident said he was forced to flee his home while aftershocks followed the initial quake, according to Reuters.

“The earth shook for about 20 seconds. Doors opened and shut by themselves as I rushed downstairs from the second floor,” teacher Hamid Afkar told Reuters.

Meanwhile, local media reported that rescue efforts were slowed by traffic jams on roads leading to the mountain region as the streets around the epicenter were blocked with collapsed rock.

The earthquake, a relatively rare occurrence in North Africa, was felt as far away as Portugal and Algeria.

The US Geological Survey’s PAGER system, which provides preliminary assessments on the impact of earthquakes, has also now issued a red alert for economic losses, stating that extensive damage is probable and the disaster is likely widespread.

Past events with this alert level have required a national or international level response, according to the US government agency.

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Morocco experienced another devastating earthquake in 2004, when at least 628 people were killed and 926 injured in Al Hoceima in the northeastern portion of the country.

And in 1980, a 7.3-magnitude quake hit neighboring Algeria, killing 2,500 and leaving 300,000 homeless.

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