Several buildings, including the minaret of a mosque, collapsed in the old town of Marrakesh, a World Heritage site at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, and people fled in panic when a huge earthquake shook Morocco last night.
At least 296 people lost their lives when an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale shook Morocco at 11 minutes after 11:00 p.m. on Friday night (at 0:11 a.m. Saturday morning Central European time), local authorities announced.
Several buildings, including the minaret of a mosque, collapsed in the old town of Marrakesh, a World Heritage site at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, and people fled in panic. The natural disaster took most of the fatalities in the mountainous part of the North African country, and 153 wounded are being treated in hospital. The epicenter of the earthquake was in the Atlas Mountains, approximately 71 kilometers southwest of Marrakech, relatively close to the earth’s surface, at a depth of 18.5 kilometers in the Igil region. The fact that it had a magnitude of 6.8 is the measurement of the US Geological Institute, the USGS, while the Moroccan Geological Institute estimated the strength of the natural disaster at 7.2. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the earthquake, which lasted only about 20 seconds, caused the greatest destruction outside the inhabited area.
The earthquake could be felt not only in Marrakesh, but also in the capital, Rabat, located 322 kilometers away.