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632 People Killed In 6.8-Magnitude Earthquake In Morocco

Mumbai: The death toll from the 6.8-magnitude earthquake in Morocco has risen to 632, Reuters reported. The epicentre of the quake was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71km south-west of Marrakesh.

Video clips on X (formerly Twitter) showed damaged buildings, other buildings shaking and rubble filled streets. People were seen fleeing in alarm, with some walking through clouds of dust

However, the authorities are yet to figure out the scale of the damage.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths due to the earthquake and expressed grief. Taking to microblogging site X ( formerly Twitter) he wrote, “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.”

The U.S. Geological Survey said that the earthquake, which struck at 11:11 p.m. (2211 GMT) and caused shaking that lasted several seconds, had a preliminary magnitude of 6.8. The National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network of Morocco recorded the earthquake as a 7 on the Richter scale. A magnitude-4.9 aftershock was recorded 19 minutes later, according to the American agency.

Although there are always differences in early assessments, either reading would be Morocco’s strongest in years. Even though there aren’t many earthquakes in North Africa, a magnitude 5.8 quake that happened there in 1960 killed thousands of people.

The Friday tremor’s epicentre was high in the Atlas Mountains, some 43.5 miles (70 km) south of Marrakech. It was also close to Oukaimeden, a well-known Moroccan ski resort, and Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.

Morocco’s seismic agency estimated the epicentre to be 8 kilometres (5 miles) below the surface of the Earth, compared to the USGS’s claim that it was 18 kilometres (11 miles) below.

As of early Saturday, neither Moroccan authorities nor MAP, the country’s official news agency, has released any information regarding injuries or damage beyond reporting on the earthquake’s magnitude. The agency is often used by government representatives to convey information regarding crucial issues.

According to the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere and Algeria’s Civil Defence organisation, which is in charge of emergency response, the earthquake was felt as far away as Portugal and Algeria.

Reuters was unable to quickly confirm several social media footage that appeared to show at least one structure toppling and debris in the streets.

Others showed crowds of people assembling outside of a mall, eateries and residential blocks.

Brahim Himmi, a local of Marrakesh, claimed to have seen ambulances leaving the old town and several damaged building facades. According to him, many people were scared and were waiting outdoors in case there was another earthquake.

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