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France offers first aid as Morocco struggles against earthquake that killed over 800

France offers first aid as Morocco struggles against earthquake that killed over 800

French President, Emmanuel Macron, on Saturday, expressed dismay at the earthquake in Morocco, which has killed over 800 people.

According to Macron, who described the quake as devastating, France is ready to offer relief efforts.

“We are all devastated after the terrible earthquake in Morocco,” Macron said on X, formerly known as Twitter, while onboard a flight to the G20 summit in India.

“France stands ready to help with first aid”, he added.

Worst earthquake in decades

An earthquake in Morocco has killed more than 800 people and injured hundreds more on Friday night.

Friday’s earthquake was adjudged the country’s deadliest tremor in more than six decades, as it destroyed buildings and sent residents of major cities away from their homes.

The magnitude 7.2 quake struck in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, and the country’s Interior Ministry said 820 people had been killed and another 672 injured, in an updated casualty toll. A local official said most deaths were in mountain areas that were hard to reach.

In Marrakech, the nearest big city to the epicentre, residents spent the night in the open, afraid to go home.

Buildings in the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, suffered damage. A mosque minaret had fallen in Jemaa al-Fna Square, the heart of Marrakech’s old city. Rescue workers dug through the rubble.

Morocco’s geophysical centre said the quake struck just after 11 p.m. (2200 GMT) in the Ighil area of the High Atlas.

It was Morocco’s deadliest since 1960 when a tremor was estimated to have killed at least 12,000 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Spanish television RTVE reported tremors from the earthquake were felt in Huelva and Jaen in Andalusia, southern Spain.

Governments around the world expressed solidarity and offered assistance. Turkey, where powerful earthquakes in February killed more than 50,000 people, said it was ready to provide support.

MARRAKECH DAMAGE

In Marrakech, some houses in the tightly packed old city had collapsed and people used their hands to remove debris while they waited for heavy equipment, said resident Id Waaziz Hassan.

Footage of the medieval city wall showed big cracks in one section and parts that had fallen, with rubble lying on the street.

People in the capital city of Rabat, about 350 km north of Ighil, and in the coastal town of Imsouane, about 180 km to its west, also fled their homes, fearing a stronger quake, according to Reuters witnesses.

In Casablanca, some 250 km north of Ighil, people who spent the night in the streets were too scared to return to their homes.

Reuters, AFP.

 

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