More than 1,300 people were killed after a strong earthquake struck Morocco in North Africa on Friday evening. Hundreds were injured.
The earthquake was the strongest to strike the center of the country in more than a century, and its epicenter was not far from Marrakesh, the famous tourist and economic center.
Here’s what we know so far.
When and where did the earthquake occur?
The earthquake occurred around 11:11 PM local time (6:11 PM ET). The epicenter of the earthquake was located in the High Atlas Mountains, about 72 kilometers (44.7 miles) southwest of Marrakesh, a city with a population of about 840,000 people.
But its influence was felt as far north as Casablanca, as this map shows.
Watch this interactive content at CNN.com
The earthquake’s magnitude reached 6.8, which means it is classified as “strong.” It also struck at a relatively shallow depth, making it more devastating.
According to the USGS, earthquakes of this size are uncommon in the region, but not unexpected. She pointed out that nine earthquakes with a magnitude of 5 or more have struck the region since 1900, but none of them had a magnitude higher than 6.
This earthquake is the deadliest in Morocco since 1960, when an earthquake killed more than 12,000 people.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 300,000 people have been affected in Marrakesh and its surrounding areas. Historical sites have been damaged, but the areas most affected are those closest to the Atlas Mountains.
Eyewitnesses in the foothills of the mountains said that some towns were completely destroyed, and almost all homes in the Asni village area were damaged.
Hundreds died in the Al Haouz province, and about 200 others died in the city of Taroudant in southwestern Morocco.
The exact size of the earthquake is still emerging.
Fadel Sina/AFP/Getty Images
Residents take shelter outside in a square on Saturday after the earthquake.
Emergency workers were deployed to affected areas, although some roads were damaged or closed due to debris. It was difficult to reach some remote villages located on the slopes of the mountain.
Muhammad, 50 years old, from the city of Werkan, lost four members of his family in the earthquake. “I was able to get out safely with my baby but I lost the rest. My house was gone.” He said.
Rescue operations are still continuing. “We are in the streets with the authorities trying to extract the dead from under the rubble. Several people were taken to the hospital in front of me. We are hoping for miracles from under the rubble,” he said.
In Marrakesh, some residents spent the night in the streets for fear of returning to their homes. Others fled the city altogether. There was a warning of aftershocks.
The Moroccan government said it had mobilized all available resources to confront the earthquake and urged people to “avoid panic.”
Moroccan King Mohammed VI ordered the formation of a relief committee to distribute aid to survivors, including orphans and people who lost their homes in the disaster.
People work next to the damage to the historic city of Marrakesh after the earthquake.
Many world leaders expressed their condolences and supported Morocco.
Turkey, which was struck by a devastating earthquake that killed tens of thousands earlier this year, said it was ready to send 265 individuals and 1,000 tents to Morocco to support relief efforts.
Algeria, which severed diplomatic relations with Morocco in 2021 and closed its airspace to all aircraft registered in Morocco, said it would reopen its airspace to humanitarian aid and medical flights to and from the Arab country.
The United Nations, US President Joe Biden, and French President Emmanuel Macron also expressed their willingness to provide assistance.
Many other world leaders have sent their condolences, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.