THE death toll from the earthquake that struck Morocco Friday night has risen to 1,037, a local media platform, the Morocco World News has reported.
According to the report, the official figure includes 1,204 injured and 721 in critical condition, adding that the number is expected to rise further as rescue operations continue.
The country’s Ministry of Interior Saturday morning disclosed that the 6.8 magnitude earthquake left over 600 people injured, with 205 in severe condition.
The earth tremors began at about 11 p.m. on Friday, forcing residents out of their homes.
Most residents slept on the streets for fear of aftershocks, as many old houses were made from stone and mud brick.
“We had to run right after the strong quake. I still can’t sleep in the house because of the shock and also because the old town is made up of old houses. If one falls, it will cause others to collapse,” a resident Jaouhari Mohamed told Aljazeera.
The incident occurred in the Marrakesh area of Morocco. While rescue efforts are still ongoing, there has been difficulty reaching affected citizens in remote parts of the country.
Also affected by the earthquake is one of Morocco’s nine United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Heritage sites, the Medieval Walls of Marrakesh’s Old City, Medina, first laid in the early 12th Century.
Leaders and diplomats worldwide have expressed their condolences and support for the country over the tragedy.
Nigeria President Bola Tinubu, in a statement on Saturday, September 9, by his spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, extended his condolences to King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
“In the face of this adversity, Nigeria will continue to stand in solidarity with Morocco as they recover, rebuild and come out stronger than ever from this unfortunate event,” he said.
The spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, expressed condolences and solidarity with the nation.
“The United Nations is ready to assist the government of Morocco in its efforts to assist the impacted population,” Dujarric stated.
Several earthquakes have occurred in North Africa, bordering the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea in past decades.
In 1994 and 2004, two earthquakes occurred in the northern town of Al Hoceima, a Riffian city in the north of Morocco.
The latter earthquake had a recorded 6.5 magnitude on the Richter scale, with over 600 dead, 900 injured, and thousands displaced.