Morocco quake death toll surpasses 2000

IANS Photo

Rabat, September 10 (IANS) The death toll from a strong earthquake that struck Morocco on Friday night has surpassed 2,000, according to country's interior ministry.

"There is destruction everywhere," Eyewitnesses near the High Atlas mountains were quoted as saying by CNN

According to USGS, the temblor was the most deadliest to hit the North African country in decades.

The quake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale hit Morocco's High Atlas mountain range on Friday at 11:11 p.m. local time at a depth of 18.5 km.

The earthquake was felt in many cities across Morocco, including Rabat and Casablanca. Many houses collapsed in the cities of Taroudant and Marrakesh, local media reported.

Xinhua correspondents at Ouarzazate, about 190 km southeast of Marrakesh, saw residents taking shelter in an open space after the earthquake.

"There have been earthquakes before, but none of them were as strong as this one," said a resident in Ouarzazate who requires anonymity.

The earthquake damaged many buildings in the old city of Marrakesh, the nearest big city to the epicenter, and many residents had to spend the night in the open space for fear of potential aftershocks, said Zhang Kai, an overseas Chinese living in Marrakesh.

Germany President released a statement on Saturday, sending "heartfelt condolences for lives lost."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the G20 summit in New Delhi on Saturday with "heartfelt condolences" to everyone affected by the quake.

Global leaders, including US President Joe Biden, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, France's Emanuel Macron, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, extended their condolences to Morocco.