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Tragic Earthquake Strikes Northern Morocco, Claiming Over 560 Lives in Neglected Region

Morocco Earthquake latest news

In a devastating catastrophe that unfolded on Tuesday, a potent earthquake rocked the remote and picturesque region of northern Morocco, claiming the lives of more than 560 individuals as they slept.

Hundreds more were left injured, and villages that had long endured government neglect were reduced to ruins.

Rescue teams armed with pickaxes and trained sniffer dogs embarked on a desperate search for survivors who remained trapped beneath the wreckage of their fragile homes, constructed from mud and stone.

These rudimentary structures proved to be highly vulnerable to the powerful 6.5-magnitude quake, crumbling with ease.

The victims of this tragedy were predominantly women, children, and the elderly.

This somber reality can be attributed to the fact that many men from this region often seek employment abroad, particularly in the Netherlands and Germany, leaving behind vulnerable family members.

Throughout the day, the death toll continued to mount as rescue teams reached the hardest-hit areas, uncovering lifeless bodies.

Official reports from the MAP news agency, issued late on Tuesday, confirmed the devastating toll: at least 564 fatalities and 300 injuries.

Of those injured, 80 individuals required hospitalization. Earlier assessments had placed the injury count at 600.

Concerns Loom Over Three Vulnerable Villages

Of particular concern was the fate of three villages—Ait Kamra, Tamassint, and Imzourn—where approximately 30,000 people resided in mud structures ill-equipped to withstand a major earthquake.

The challenging terrain, nestled in the foothills of the Rif Mountains, posed logistical difficulties for rescue efforts.

The region’s narrow and poorly maintained roads hindered access, requiring a joint response from military and civilian rescuers. Helicopters laden with emergency supplies were prepared for deployment.

Rescue teams encountered significant challenges in reaching the affected areas, situated in this rugged terrain. Given these hurdles, the Interior Ministry anticipated that the death toll would continue to rise.

Earthquake Reverberates Across Borders

This earthquake, which reverberated across the Strait of Gibraltar, sent tremors through much of southern Spain.

However, there were no reports of damage or injuries in Spain, where it was mainly felt in tall apartment blocks in southern Andalucia and southeast Murcia. It was also perceptible in the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla.

A Tremor of Significant Magnitude

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded the earthquake as registering 6.5 on the open-ended Richter scale. Its epicenter lay 100 miles northeast of Fes in the Mediterranean Sea, occurring at a depth of approximately one mile beneath the Earth’s surface. The seismic event struck at 2:27 a.m. local time.

A physician at Mohammed V hospital in Al-Hoceima described the aftermath as marked by “many deaths and many injured,” with most injuries being fractures.

He recounted, “Houses collapsed. It was a very, very violent jolt.” Al-Hoceima, the largest city in northern Morocco, is inhabited by Berbers. The region has grappled with extreme poverty and underdevelopment, as it had been neglected by the government for decades following a rebellion in 1960. The local economy relies heavily on fishing and cannabis cultivation.

Fears of Coastal Damage

Butch Kinerney, a spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey, expressed concern that the earthquake’s formidable strength and shallow depth could lead to coastal damage.

Separate Quake Rattles France

Coincidentally, a distinct earthquake shook the Alps region in southeast France the previous evening, although no injuries or damages were reported.

Historical Perspective

Morocco’s deadliest earthquake prior to this catastrophe occurred in 1960 when a devastating quake struck the southern city of Agadir and surrounding areas, claiming the lives of 15,000 people.

Also Read: UN Report Warns Of Dangerous Drift Off Paris Climate Goals

Notably, the last substantial earthquake in the region was a 6.0 magnitude event in 1994.

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Written by Andrew Walyaula

Multimedia Journalist
Walyaula@kahawatungu.com

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