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Massive earthquake in Morocco kills 632 people; PM Modi says 'India ready to offer assistance'

Several buildings were toppled in the powerful earthquake which, according to Morocco's geophysical centre, struck in the Ighil area of the High Atlas with a magnitude of 7.2. The U.S. Geological Survey read the quake's magnitude at 6.8 on Ritcher scale.

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick Rabat (Morocco) Updated on: September 09, 2023 12:36 IST
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At least 632 people were killed in a massive earthquake that hit Morocco on late Friday (September 8), state television reported.

The number of injured increased from just above 150 earlier to 329, state media reported on Saturday, citing an updated initial casualty toll from the Interior Ministry.

Several buildings and historic landmarks in major cities were damaged and numerous others were toppled in the powerful earthquake which, according to Morocco's geophysical centre, struck in the Ighil area of the High Atlas with a magnitude of 7.2. The U.S. Geological Survey read the quake's magnitude at 6.8 on Ritcher scale and said it was at a relatively shallow depth of 18.5 km.

The Interior Ministry urged people to stay calm, stating in its televised statement that the earthquake had hit the provinces of Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant.

Videos of the people screaming were posted by the tourists and others.

The residents of Marrakech, the major city nearest to the epicentre, said that the earthquake felled some buildings in the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. A local television aired pictures of a fallen mosque with debris spread on crushed cars.

According to a local official, most deaths were reported in the mountainous areas that were hard to reach out to.

According to Pan-Arab al-Arabiya news channel which quoted local sources, five people were killed from one family.

The local Goud.ma news site reported up to 50 people had died, citing unnamed officials.

"The earth shook for about 20 seconds. Doors opened and shut by themselves as I rushed downstairs from the second floor," said Hamid Afkir, a teacher in a mountainous area west of the epicentre near Taroudant, adding there had been aftershocks.

Ighil, a mountainous area with small farming villages, is about 70 km southwest of Marrakech. The quake struck just after 11 p.m. (2200 GMT).

PM Modi expresses grief over loss of lives

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the tragic loss of lives in the earthquake and said that India is ready to offer "all possible assistance" to the north African country.

"Extremely pained by the loss of lives due to an earthquake in Morocco. In this tragic hour, my thoughts are with the people of Morocco. Condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest. India is ready to offer all possible assistance to Morocco in this difficult time," PM Modi posted on X, formerly Twitter.

(With inputs from agencies)

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