In addition, 153 injured people were taken to hospitals for treatment. Most of the damage occurred outside the cities. Images and videos from social networks show destroyed buildings in cities and people sitting on the streets. According to media reports, historical landmarks were also damaged.
Epicenter in the Atlas Mountains
The US Earthquake Observatory USGS said the quake had a magnitude of 6.8 and occurred at a depth of 18.5 kilometers, a good 70 kilometers southwest of Marrakech and 60 kilometers northeast of the city of Taroudant. The epicenter was in the Atlas Mountains. The geophone at the Helmholtz Center Potsdam gave the magnitude of the quake at 6.9. A short time later, the US authorities reported an aftershock with a magnitude of 4.9.
According to eyewitness accounts, the earthquake caused panic among residents in Marrakech, Agadir and other cities. As the newspaper “Le Matin” reported, the quake was also felt in Rabat and Casablanca.
Buildings reduced to rubble, famous red walls damaged
Moroccans posted videos showing buildings reduced to rubble and damaged parts of the famous red walls that surround Marrakech’s Old City, a Unesco world heritage site. Other videos show screaming people leaving restaurants in the city. The quake was reportedly also felt in Portugal and Algeria.
Nasser Jabour, head of a department at the National Institute of Geophysics, confirmed that the aftershocks were less severe. The quake was felt within a radius of 400 kilometers, he told the Moroccan news agency MAP. It is the first time in a century that such a strong earthquake has been recorded in Morocco.
Earthquakes in North Africa are relatively rare. In 1960, according to the Al Arabiya broadcaster, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck near Agadir, killing thousands of people.
EU offers help
The European Union, meanwhile, has offered help to Morocco. “The EU is ready to support Morocco in these difficult moments,” wrote EU Council President Charles Michel on Saturday morning on the short message service X (formerly Twitter). The news from the country is terrible. His thoughts are with everyone affected by the tragedy and with the rescue workers.