A strong earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale shook the Marrakesh area. The number of victims – according to the Minister of the Interior – is 296 people and more than 150 injured. Seismographs recorded the earthquake at 11:11 pm on Friday, September 8. The epicenter of the earthquake was located at the foot of the Atlas, in the Al Haouz province, most likely in the center of Iguil, at a depth of 8 kilometers, a little more than 70 kilometers from Marrakesh. But the shock was felt all along the Atlas mountain range, in Merzouga, one of the gateways to the Sahara, Taroudant, Essaouira, Agadir, and on the other side of the Casablanca mountain range, all the way to Rabat. The undulating motion lasted about 30 seconds, but seemed much longer.
Fear, especially in Marrakesh, where the most fragile parts of the walls surrounding the historic center have collapsed. Some houses collapsed. In Jemaa El Fna Square, the minaret of a small mosque near the historic “Café de France” collapsed. There were reports of damage to the Kasbah of Marrakesh and the collapse of houses in the northeastern region. In the new city there are cracks in the bell tower of the Catholic Church in Gueliz. Facade collapse in Essaouira on the Atlantic Ocean and in Ouarzazate in south-central.
Many injured, but at the moment there are no casualties. Thousands poured into the streets of the new city of Marrakesh and the alleys of the old city, in a state of panic.
Power and Internet outage for a long period. The Italian Embassy in Rabat received many calls, especially from tourists asking to return to their homeland. The airports are currently closed and will reopen on Saturday morning.
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