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Morocco's Devastating Quake Toll Exceeds 2,800 Amidst Escalated Rescue Efforts

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

Regrettably, death toll estimates from Morocco's catastrophic earthquake continue to ascend, now exceeding the sombre milestone of 2,800 lives lost. In the wake of the deadliest seismic event in the North African nation for over 60 years, international search and rescue teams have aggressively intensified their efforts.

Late last Friday, a staggering 6.8 magnitude quake convulsed the High Atlas Mountains. The epicentre lay approximately 72km southwest of Marrakesh. As news of the calamity has spread, rescue teams from Spain, the United Kingdom, and Qatar have promptly joined Moroccan rescue efforts, bringing their expertise to this remarkable international show of solidarity.

State television reports that the death toll has distressingly risen to 2,862, with a further 2,562 people injured. The architecture prevalent in the region - traditional mud-brick houses - severely reduces the chance of discovering survivors, as such structures easily crumble under the quake's brutal force.

The calamity has also caused a significant blow to Morocco's cultural heritage. Buildings in Marrakesh's old city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, have suffered severe damage, including the historically important 12th-century Tinmel Mosque.

Initial reports suggest that approximately 100,000 children have been affected by the earthquake. They are a particularly vulnerable group, making up almost a third of Morocco's population, indicating a massive potential impact.

The government has rushed to respond to criticism over its initial reaction, deemed "too slow" by some survivors. By Monday, search and rescue operations had picked up speed, with makeshift tent camps cropping up to offer interim shelter. Essential supplies are airdropped to families in inaccessible zones close to the epicentre.

International aid has started flowing in, with contributions from Spain, the UK, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and a significant monetary commitment of 1 million euros from the European Commission. Meanwhile, Morocco deals with the aftermath of the deadliest quake since 1960, a tremor that took around 12,000 lives.

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