Rabat: More than 2,000 people have been killed so far after a deadly earthquake jolted Morocco in the late evening hours on Friday, according to Al Jazeera. After the magnitude 6.8 earthquake, which claimed the lives of more than 2,012 people and injured 2,059 others while also leaving many homeless, authorities on Saturday proclaimed three days of national mourning in the country.
According to a statement from the military, King Mohammed VI of Morocco directed the armed forces to deploy specialized search and rescue teams and a surgical field hospital.
Historic structures in Marrakesh, the closest city to the epicentre, were damaged by the earthquake that shook Morocco's High Atlas mountains late on Friday night, but the majority of casualties were recorded in mountainous regions to the south in the Al-Haouz and Taroudant provinces, reported Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, the efforts to clear roads for search and rescue operations are underway. The earthquake took place at 03:41:01 (UTC+05:30) at a depth of 18.5 km. The magnitude of the earthquake caused pulses to travel from Sidi Ifni in the south to Rabat in the north and beyond.
The epicentre was noted at 72 kilometres west of Marrakesh, a major economic centre. According to Al Jazeera, the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Department (AFAD) says it has placed two hundred and sixty-five members of medical, relief, and search and rescue agencies on alert, in case it receives a distress call from Morocco.
It says a thousand tents have been allocated to be transported to Morocco if they receive a request from the authorities in Rabat. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the quake.
Taking to X, PM Modi said, "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." Videos and pictures shared on social media showed mountains of rubble and dust clouds as walls gave way to the earthquake's intensity.