According to authorities, the number of deaths has now risen to 2,012. At least 2,059 other people were injured, more than half of them seriously, as Moroccan media reported on Sunday night, citing the Interior Ministry. King Mohammed VI ordered three days of national mourning.
Despite numerous offers of help from all over the world, the country’s government has not yet officially requested any support. This step is necessary before foreign rescue workers can be deployed. Nevertheless, emergency services from aid organizations are ready for a possible flight to the disaster area.
EU heads of state and government also offered their help and expressed their condolences in a letter to the king. “As close friends and partners of Morocco, we are ready to help you in any way you deem useful,” the letter said.
Enough flights to get back to Austria
According to current knowledge, no Austrians were injured, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday in response to an APA request. Around 60 people are currently registered for travel, it said. According to the ministry, there are currently around 215 Austrians abroad in Morocco. “They were contacted by text message and email that night and are currently being called by the embassy,” said a spokeswoman. In this context, the ministry also referred to the on-call service (+43 90115 4411), which is available around the clock. The airport in Marrakesh is currently functioning normally and there are enough flights to get back to Austria, the Foreign Ministry said.
The Austrian Red Cross called for donations for the earthquake region on Saturday. “Injured people and people who have lost everything now need help quickly,” appealed President Gerald Creator. The Moroccan Red Crescent is already supporting with first aid, psychosocial care and evacuation and transport measures, it said in a release. Doctors Without Borders emphasized in a statement on Saturday that they were already in consultation with the local authorities to send the first teams to the region. Appeals for donations also came from the two NGOS Care-Austria and “Jugend Eine Welt”. “The humanitarian situation is increasingly deteriorating. The families now most urgently need water, food, hygiene products, health care and safe accommodation,” said Care managing director Andrea Barschdorf-Hager.
More than 300,000 people affected
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300,000 people in Marrakech and surrounding areas are affected by the disaster. Local rescue workers, along with soldiers, continued to search for survivors under the rubble. “My wife, children and I tried to leave the house, but my young daughter and my father, who is 102 years old, remained. I tried to go back to get them out but in vain, my father and daughter are died there,” a survivor in the town of Imintanoute told the Hespress news site.
The epicenter was a good 70 kilometers southwest of Marrakesh in the Atlas Mountains. There are towns along steep and winding serpentines. Since earthquakes occur relatively rarely in North Africa, experts believe that buildings are not built robustly enough to withstand such strong shaking. The magnitude 6.8 quake caused panic late on Friday evening.
National players donated blood
Some buildings were destroyed and famous cultural monuments were damaged in areas from the Atlas Mountains to Marrakesh’s old town. The quake was felt within a radius of 400 kilometers, said Nasser Jabour, head of a department at the National Institute of Geophysics, to the Moroccan news agency MAP. It lasted for several seconds. According to the US Earthquake Observatory USGS, the quake occurred at a depth of 18.5 kilometers. According to experts, earthquakes at such shallow depths are particularly dangerous.
Morocco’s national soccer players and their coaches donated blood after the earthquake. In a story on the North African selection’s Instagram channel on Saturday, various professionals were briefly shown how their blood was taken with a cannula in their arm.
Morocco lies on the so-called African plate, which is one of the largest continental plates in the world. During the earthquake in Morocco, blocks from the African plate and the Eurasian plate, which lies north of it, moved jerkily against each other, explained seismologist Torsten Dahm from the Georesearch Center Potsdam (GFZ). The collision itself is a constant and slow process that causes the plates to bend and build up tension. As in this case, this could discharge suddenly.
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