Panic in Marrakech after the earthquake

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An earthquake hit Morocco on the night of Friday 8 to Saturday 9 September. The earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale according to the American Institute of Geophysics, has its epicenter southwest of the tourist city of Marrakech, 320 km south of the capital Rabat.

A toll that gets worse by the hour

According to a new provisional official report from the Ministry of the Interior, 632 people were killed and 329 were injured.

The earthquake caused the collapse of several buildings, particularly in the provinces and communes of al-Haouz, Taroudant, Chichaoua, Ouarzazate and Marrakech. The tremor was felt in Rabat, Casablanca, Agadir and Essaouira, causing panic among the population.

The images broadcast by the media and witnesses on social networks show significant damage in several cities. Part of a minaret collapsed in the famous Jemaa el-Fna square, in the heart of Marrakech, injuring two people. An AFP correspondent saw hundreds of people flock to this emblematic square of the ocher city to spend the night there, for fear of aftershocks.

“We were walking in Jemaa el-Fna when the earth started to shake, it was a really amazing feeling,” a resident of Marrakech told AFP, “I have at least ten members of my family who died. in Ijoukak”. An English tourist, sitting on the terrace of a restaurant with friends, saw “the tables shaking, the dishes flying, we panicked”.

Alia, a Toulouse woman interviewed by France Bleu Occitanie, spent the night in the street with her sisters. She felt the earthquake in the riad where she was staying: “It was panic, all the tourists came out of their rooms. We went out into the street around 11 p.m., half in our pajamas, with a bottle of water and our passports.” She describes the families who settled on the sidewalks, on the road with blankets and camp beds.

The government is calling on residents to stay outside in the event of an aftershock. “What explains the heavy toll is the time of the earthquake” underlines, this Saturday on franceinfo, Eric Zipper, the president of the NGO World Relief Corps, “people were taken from their homes, they weren’t out.” For the French rescuer, the toll will certainly increase when help arrives in the least passable areas.

Catherine Mills Avatar