At least 2,000 people killed in Morocco earthquake and 2,000 more injured

Man carries a cat through rubble

A man carries a cat through the rubble of a partially collapsed mosque on Sept. 9, 2023 in Marrakech, Morocco.
A man carries a cat through the rubble of a partially collapsed mosque on Saturday in Marrakech, Morocco. Carl Court / Getty Images

American in Morocco recalls apartment shaking, community response

Author TaNesha Barnes said last night’s earthquake was like nothing else she had ever felt. The walls of the American’s Marrakech area apartment complex came alive and shook throughout what she described as an achingly long-term temblor.

Afterward neighbors, all physically unharmed, gathered outside, and pretty much stayed there amid frightening aftershocks. The Moroccan people and others with roots in the region couldn’t do much about the destructive wave that pulsed across the geography of North Africa.

But Barnes said the community she now calls home has been a rock for those who need help recovering from the temblor. “People are stocking up to help other people,” she said in a Zoom interview today.

“There’s a sense of love, prayer and sharing,” said Barnes, the CEO of Mwasi Creative Community, which aims to help Black Americans heal from traumatic and often racist and discriminatory experiences through retreats in Morocco.

The city of Marrakech was alighted by entire neighborhoods moving outdoors in the wake of Friday’s quake. The response has only strengthened her resolve that it is the place for her healing community

“We stayed outside,” Barnes said. “All of our Moroccan friends called as if we were family to make sure we were OK.”

Hundreds sleep on sidewalks in Marrakech

MARRAKECH, Morocco — While the airport in Casablanca felt like business as usual, crowded but calm with tourists and traveling families, the impact of the earthquake became apparent as soon as we reached the outskirts of Marrakech.

At Rond Point de la Palmeraie, the main traffic circle at the entrance to the city, hundreds of people were seen sleeping on the sidewalks and grass along the road. The rows of people sleeping then stretched along the length of the boulevard driving into the city. Some people just appeared to be sleeping on mats with a blanket over them, while others had more substantial supplies. There were some makeshift kiosks selling food and drinks in parking areas along the way.

Just a few minutes down the road though there was a line of people waiting to get into a nightclub, and across the street the patio of the McDonald’s was packed.

We haven’t seen any signs of damage yet, but we’re not in an area with the older, more affected buildings.

Embassy has no reports of American deaths, but says some are injured

The U.S. Embassy in Rabat said tonight it is unaware of any reported fatalities among U.S. citizens, but said a small number of Americans may have been injured.

“We are aware of a small number of U.S. citizens injured in the earthquake and are on standby to provide all appropriate consular assistance,” the embassy said in a statement.

The embassy said citizens in need of help as a result of the temblor should contact local authorities.

“We urge U.S. citizens in the affected areas who are safe to contact their loved ones directly and/or update their status on social media,” the embassy said.

José Andrés says teams from World Central Kitchen are en route

Celebrity chef José Andrés said today that teams from his disaster relief nonprofit World Central Kitchen were en route to provide meals to victims of Morocco’s magnitude-6.8 earthquake.

@WCKitchen teams are on their way to Morocco to help with food and water,” he said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “As we did in Turkey I’m sure the teams will adapt to bring food in hard to reach areas… “

The culinary star braced his followers for bad news as recovery efforts evolve.

“Hundreds dead, many injured but probably many under the rubble,” he said. “The next 72 hours are vital to rescue people alive.”

Doctors Without Borders offers assistance

Doctors Without Borders, or MSF, says it is prepared to respond to the earthquake in Morocco.

Avril Benoît, executive director of MSF-USA, said in a statement that people who live in the affected region are “key to the initial response” when searching for survivors.

“Earthquake survivors often require medical care such as surgery or dialysis, which can be a challenge when local health systems are affected by a disaster. Restoring health services and providing essential supplies also can be a priority at this stage. Our response will depend on the needs that are assessed on site.”

People sleep outside in Marrakech after quake

Soldiers conduct grim search for victims

Moroccan Royal Armed Forces evacuate a body from a house destroyed in an earthquake in the mountain village of Tafeghaghte, southwest of the city of Marrakech, on Sept. 9, 2023.
Moroccan Royal Armed Forces remove a body Saturday from a house destroyed in an earthquake in the mountain village of Tafeghaghte, southwest of the city of Marrakech.Fadel Senna / AFP – Getty Images


Death toll rises to 2,012

The number of people killed in last night’s devastating earthquake in Morocco has risen to 2,012, the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces said, citing the Interior Ministry.

There are also 2,059 injured, including 1,404 in critical condition, it said in the update posted on X late tonight, local time.

Death toll rises to 1,305

The death toll from the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Morocco yesterday has risen to 1,305, according to the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces.

There are 1,832 injured, 1,220 of which are in critical condition.

People mourn for earthquake victims in Moulay Brahim, Morocco, on Sept. 9, 2023.
People mourn earthquake victims Saturday in Moulay Brahim, Morocco.Fadel Senna / AFP – Getty Images

Video shows the moment 6.8-magnitude earthquake strikes Morocco

Morocco declares three days of mourning and flags to be flown at half mast

Morocco declared three days of mourning today following the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that killed over 1,000 people, according to a statement from the Royal Palace in Rabat.

Earthquake in Morocco
People survey earthquake damage in Marrakech on Saturday.Khadija Benabbou / dpa via Getty Images

All national flags on public buildings will also be flown at half mast across the country. In a meeting shortly after the earthquake, government officials briefed King Mohammed VI on the extent of the damage left behind.

The King directed the distribution of clean water, food, tents and blankets among those affected, as well as the bolstering of search and rescue teams in impacted areas. He also ordered that public services resume as soon as possible.


Drone video shows earthquake devastation in south Morocco

Morocco vs. Liberia soccer match at Africa Cup postponed

Morocco’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Liberia has been postponed because of Friday’s earthquake.

The match was originally planned for 3 p.m. ET today. A new date and time for the match has not been set.

Algeria opens airspace to Morocco following earthquake despite bad relations

Algeria has opened its airspace to Morocco following the earthquake despite its having cut ties with the country two years ago.

Friday’s 6.8-magnitude earthquake prompted Algeria to put aside the bad relations with its neighbor and open its airspace to flights carrying humanitarian aid.

The border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed since 1994, and Algiers closed its airspace to Morocco and suspended diplomatic relations in 2021, accusing Rabat of “hostile acts,” including using spyware against it.

Morocco has rejected the allegations as “absurd.”

A collapsed building on the road between Amizmiz and Ouirgane in Morocco on Sept. 9, 2023.
A collapsed building on the road between Amizmiz and Ouirgane in Morocco.Ahmed El Jechtimi / Reuters

Read the full story here.

Moroccan soccer team star Achraf Hakimi urges people to donate blood

Moroccan soccer team star Achraf Hakimi urged people to donate blood to those injured during Friday night’s 6.8-magnitude earthquake.

Hakimi posted a statement to Instagram on Saturday, pairing it with a picture of the Moroccan flag.

“We are living in difficult times and our thoughts are with the injured and the families of the victims,” he wrote. “Let’s all cooperate and contribute to saving the wounded by donating blood. To God we belong and to him we shall return.”

Morocco was scheduled to play Liberia at 3 p.m. E.T. today as part of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. It’s unclear if the game will continue as planned.


People seen wandering the streets in aftermath of quake

Video shows buildings in ruins after Morocco earthquake

Images show damaged buildings in Marrakech

A British guide documented some damage on the way to Marrakesh Menara Airport.

Secretary Blinken offers support to the Moroccan people following earthquake

Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered his support and condolences to the people of Morocco following Friday’s earthquake.

“On behalf of the people of the United States, I express my deep sadness at the loss of life and destruction caused by yesterday’s earthquake in Morocco and extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of those affected,” Blinken said in a statement released on Saturday.  

“The United States is ready to provide any necessary assistance as Morocco responds to this tragedy. Our thoughts are with the Moroccan people, and we offer our unwavering support and solidarity to our Moroccan partners at this tragic time.”

Death toll passes 1,000, with more than 700 critically injured

The number of people killed in Friday’s devastating earthquake in Morocco passed 1,000, Morocco’s government confirmed Saturday morning.

Relatives mourn in front of the bodies of earthquake victims in Moulay Brahim, Morocco, on Sept. 9, 2023.
Relatives mourn Saturday in front of the bodies of earthquake victims in Moulay Brahim.Fadel Senna / AFP – Getty Images

A spokesperson for the country’s Interior Ministry confirmed that according to the most up-to-date records, 1,037 were dead and 1,204 injured, including 721 who were critically injured.

Rural, mountainside communities are bearing the brunt of damage

Most of the deaths reported so far are in rural areas close to the epicenter of the quake, high in the Atlas Mountains south of Marrakech, official figures show, meaning rescuers have to battle damaged roads to reach remote communities.

Morocco’s Interior Ministry reported Saturday that 394 deaths had been recorded in the mountainous Al Haouz Province, compared with 13 in Marrakech Province and three in greater Casablanca.

The U.S. Geological Survey said that the epicenter was near the ski resort of Oukaïmeden, about 50 miles from Marrakech.

Rescuers in Al Haouz Province use mini-excavator to search ruined house for survivors

Image: MOROCCO-QUAKE
FADEL SENNA / AFP – Getty Images

Rescue efforts underway after overnight Morocco earthquake

Pope offers blessings and prayers for victims and survivors

Pope Francis sent condolences to the people of Morocco and offered his “deep solidarity” in a message to the country’s leaders Saturday.

In a telegram the pope said he prayed for those who had died or been wounded in the earthquake, and offered encouragement to everyone involved in the rescue and recovery efforts, Vatican News reported.

Army uses drones to find earthquake survivors

Morocco’s armed forces are using helicopters and drones as part of a huge effort to find and recover survivors of Friday’s earthquake.

In an update on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Royal Armed Forces said that on the instruction of King Mohammed VI it had deployed search and rescue teams, a field hospital and a makeshift surgical hospital.

France quick to offer support in wake of earthquake’s devastation

PARIS — France was among the first countries to react and offer aid to Morocco, a former French protectorate where more than 40,000 French residents still live.

“We are all devastated after the terrible earthquake in Morocco. France stands ready to help with first aid,” President Emmanuel Macron wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“France learned with great emotion of the terrible 6.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred during the night between Marrakech and Agadir, which caused hundreds of victims and injuries,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

So far no French nationals have been reported dead but crisis centers were set up in both Paris and Morocco Saturday morning.

New pictures show homes in ruins in Marrakech

Image: MOROCCO-QUAKE
FADEL SENNA / AFP – Getty Images
Image: MOROCCO-QUAKE
FADEL SENNA / AFP – Getty Images

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI releases statement via foreign minister

After more than 12 hours since a 6.5-magnitude earthquake shook Morocco, King Mohammed VI sent a message of condolence and sympathy in a statement issued by the country’s foreign minister.

Nasser Bourita said on X, formerly known as Twitter, Saturday morning: “On behalf of King #Mohamed_VI, I would like to express to you, to the families of the victims, and to the Moroccan people, my sincere condolences and sympathy as a result of the earthquake that struck many areas in my country.

“I share the feelings of sadness and pain with the families of the victims, while wishing a speedy recovery for the injured,” the statement read.

President Biden sends message of support to Morocco

President Joe Biden sent thoughts and prayers to those affected by the Moroccan earthquake and said the United States was ready to offer any help needed.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Morocco. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by this terrible hardship,” he said in a statement Saturday morning.

“My administration is in contact with Moroccan officials. We are working expeditiously to ensure American citizens in Morocco are safe, and stand ready to provide any necessary assistance for the Moroccan people. The United States stands by Morocco and my friend King Mohammed VI at this difficult moment.”

Humanitarian groups spring into action to help stricken Moroccans

The Moroccan Red Crescent was among the first humanitarian charities to offer help to survivors of Friday’s earthquake, providing urgent first aid to some of the hundreds injured.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Middle East and North Africa said it was also ready to provide support on X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, while sharing images of its medics treating someone on a stretcher and a devastated building.

Death toll rises to at least 820 with more than 600 injured

At least 820 people have died as a result of the devastating earthquake that hit Morocco Friday night, the country’s Interior Ministry said on state TV Saturday morning.

The update is the second upward revision of the death toll and reflects the difficulty authorities have in reaching remote, rural parts of the country that have been badly affected.

The number of injuries was also increased to 672, with 205 of them classed as serious.

Israel pledges to send aid

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed “all government bodies and forces” to offer necessary assistance to the people of Morocco, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.

This includes “the preparations for sending an aid delegation to the area,” it said.

“The prime minister said that the people of Israel stand with our friends, the people of Morocco, during this difficult hour and prays for their well being, and that we will help in any way needed,” the statement added.

Buildings in Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage site, damaged

In Marrakech, the famous Koutoubia Mosque, built in the 12th century, suffered damage, but the extent was not immediately clear. The building’s 226-foot minaret is known as the “roof of Marrakech.”

Moroccans also posted videos showing damage to parts of the famous red walls that surround the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Most of the fatalities so far have been reported in and around Marrakech.

A woman reacts with despair after seeing the damage to her home in Marrakech on Saturday

A woman reacts standing in front of her earthquake-damaged house in the old city in Marrakech on Sept. 9, 2023.
Fadel Senna / AFP – Getty Images

UAE to set up ‘air bridge’ to help quake-struck Morocco

ABU DHABI — The United Arab Emirates said it was setting up an “air bridge” to deliver critical relief supplies and other forms of support to those hit by the Morocco earthquake, according to state media.

“His Highness’ initiative reaffirms the deep-rooted ties between the UAE and Morocco and underscores the UAE’s enduring disaster response efforts and commitment to strengthening global solidarity, particularly with those in need,” the Emirates News Agency reported, referring to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi.

Desperate search for survivors trapped under rubble continues

People across the earthquake-struck region are scrambling to find and free any survivors trapped under debris.

Montasir Itri, from the mountain village of Asni near the epicenter, told the Reuters news agency that most houses there were damaged.

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

Residents of Marrakech, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, told Reuters some buildings there had collapsed completely.

Survivors pick through rubble to find their belongings in Marrakech

Image: MOROCCO-QUAKE
Fadel Sennna / AFP – Getty Images

U.S. embassy tells Americans to ‘exercise caution’ in case of aftershocks

The U.S. Embassy in Rabat issued an alert early Saturday advising U.S. citizens to exercise caution for the next 24 hours in case of additional earthquakes or aftershocks. 

Officials were monitoring the situation closely but were not aware of any U.S. citizens who had been affected, according to a statement sent to NBC News.

“We strongly encourage U.S. citizens in the affected areas to monitor local news, follow the emergency instructions provided by local authorities, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at step.state.gov to receive important emergency information,” the statement added.

“We urge U.S. citizens in the affected areas who are safe to contact their loved ones directly and/or update their status on social media. Any U.S. citizens in the affected area and in need of immediate emergency services should contact local authorities.”

International bodies offer Morocco support

The United Nations has said it is ready to assist Morocco in the aftermath of Friday’s earthquake, that has killed more than 600 people.

“The Secretary-General was profoundly saddened to learn of the earthquake that hit Morocco today which claimed many lives,” said a statement from Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.

“The United Nations is ready to assist the government of Morocco in its efforts to assist the impacted population.”

The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, said that its Emergency Response Coordination Centre was closely monitoring the situation and could “provide assistance if requested.”

“We stand by the people of Morocco at this difficult time following the deadly earthquake,” the commission said in a statement.

Locals in Marrakech sleep outside in a public square early Saturday

Image: TOPSHOT-MOROCCO-QUAKE
FADEL SENNA / AFP – Getty Images

Moroccan journalist describes surviving earthquake

A Moroccan journalist described the chaos of the earthquake and its aftermath, with people streaming onto the streets to avoid structural damage.

Rida Fakhar told the U.K.’s Sky News that he arrived in Marrakech on Friday two hours before the earthquake.

“It was very, very strong, I’ve never seen something like that. I’ve witnessed two earthquakes in Morocco but this is something I’ve never seen,” he said.

“Here in Marrakech we hear ambulances coming in from different parts of Marrakech and from the Atlas mountains.”

Earthquake death toll almost doubles to 632 in early Saturday update

At least 632 people have died as a result of Friday’s earthquake, Moroccan Interior Ministry confirmed early Saturday — more than double the previous total of 296.

The ministry also said 329 people were injured, a figure almost certain to rise as authorities gather information from all the affected areas.

source: nbcnews.com