Nearly 3,000 people have died, towns and villages have been destroyed, and rescuers are searching for survivors after the devastating earthquake in Morocco.

This earthquake is the worst earthquake the country has experienced in decades, and the full extent of the damage it caused is not yet understood. The earthquake struck late Friday night south of the crowded city of Marrakesh, and was felt by residents north of Casablanca, but its most devastating impact came in isolated areas at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.

Thousands were injured or unaccounted for, and rescuers spent days desperately trying to reach remote affected areas.

Morocco’s treasury, which is rich in buildings, mosques and antiquities dating back centuries, also suffered a devastating blow as a result of the earthquake.

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Friday’s disaster is the deadliest earthquake to hit Morocco in more than 60 years, according to the international disaster database EM-DAT. It is also the strongest in terms of size on its territory in more than a century.

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While the death toll is still being updated, it has already become the second deadliest earthquake in North Africa since at least 1900, according to EM-DAT data.

In 1960, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in Morocco with its epicenter in Adagir killed at least 12,000 people and injured 25,000 others. In 1980, a 7.1 magnitude land movement in Algeria followed by a tsunami caused more than 2,600 deaths and severe damage.

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Countless historical sites were destroyed, damaged or threatened by the earthquake. Some of them date back to the days of the Almohad Caliphate in North Africa, which made Marrakesh its capital. The buildings that have remained standing since then were among those lost or crippled by the earthquake.

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The crown jewel of Marrakesh, the famous Koutoubia Mosque, shook violently during the earthquake. But the 12th-century structure and its 77-metre-high minaret remained standing throughout the weekend.

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The Kharbouch Mosque, a small place of worship located on the corner of the sprawling Jemaa el-Fna square, was almost completely destroyed. Its minaret collapsed, leaving only a piece of brick amid the rubble.

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Marrakesh’s 900-year-old walls were battered by the earthquake, leaving visible cracks and crumbling parts. The imposing pink-coloured fortifications stretch for several miles around the historic Medina district.

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Located above the village of the same name, Tinmal Mosque is a leading example of 12th-century Almohad architecture. It featured intricate brickwork, arches, and carved decorations. The building was severely damaged, and its walls and edifice were reduced to rubble. State media reported on Monday that more than 2,600 people were killed and 2,500 wounded. Authorities warned that the death toll was still expected to rise.

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