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Morocco earthquake – live: Race to find survivors as death toll tops 2,901

Experts warn aftershocks could last for ‘months’

Maroosha Muzaffar,Lydia Patrick,Matt Mathers
Tuesday 12 September 2023 17:00 BST
CCTV captures moment earthquake strikes busy Marrakech street

Rescuers are racing the clock to find survivors in the rubble more than 48 hours after Morocco's deadliest earthquake in more than six decades.

Some 2,901 have people have been killed in a disaster that devastated villages in the High Atlas Mountains. More than 5,000 are still missing.

Aftershocks will continue to rock Morocco weeks or months, a seismological expert has warned. Remy Mossu, the director of the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, told Sky News that more than 25 aftershocks have already hit the country since the 6.8 magnitude earthquake.

“There will be aftershocks. It is not probably, it is a certainty,” he said.

Some villagers say they are struggling to find enough space to bury their dead as funerals can take place beside rescue work. Others are preparing extra graves ready for more bodies, even as rescue operations continue.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has thanked Spain, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates for sending aid, with the UK government set to send 60 search and rescue specialists and four search dogs to Morocco.

The damage from the quake could take several years to repair, according to the Red Cross.


We’re pausing our live coverage of this story but will bring you the latest as we get it at

Natalie Crockett12 September 2023 17:00

How can I support victims of the Morocco earthquake?

Thousands have been affected following an earthquake in Morocco on Friday 8 September that has devastated rural communities in the Atlas Mountains.

Mountainside villages in the epicentre, Al Haouz province (44 miles south of Marrakech), were destroyed and many have lost their lives. Some 2,476 people have been injured and the death toll has risen to 2,500 as a result of the 6.8 magnitude earthquake.

Natalie Wilson reports on how you can help:

How can I support victims of the Morocco earthquake?

Where to donate to provide emergency relief to those in the Atlas Mountain area

Matt Mathers12 September 2023 16:30

ICYMI: Strange ‘earthquake lights’ spotted above Morocco moments before devastating tremors remain a mystery

Flashes in the sky above Morocco moments before a devastating earthquake struck the country and killed thousands were captured in social media videos – similar to unexplained lights seen during previous large seismic events as well.

This bizarre occurrence is likely a phenomenon known as earthquake lights (EQL). They were spotted earlier this year during the massive tremors that struck Turkey and Syria, and in 2017 above Mexico after a powerful 7-magnitude earthquake.

Vishwam Sankaran reports:

Strange ‘earthquake lights’ seen above Morocco just before tremors remain a mystery

Studying the flashing lights that seem to occur just before quakes is tough due to unpredictability of tremors

Matt Mathers12 September 2023 16:03

Firefighters from northwest help with rescue effort

Five firefighters from Manchester have gone to help with the rescue mission in Morocco.

Station manager Martin Foran, watch managers Gavin Kearsley, John Hughes, Simon Cording and Mike Hirst travelled to the African country on Sunday night.

They are part of the UK International Search and Rescue team dispatched to Morocco.

Matt Mathers12 September 2023 15:35

Morocco expresses ‘full solidarity with Libya as neighbour hit by floods

Morocco has expressed “full solidarity” with Libya after the African country was hit by flood.

More than 1,000 have been killed and thousands more are missing after two dams burst and four bridges collapsed in Derna, home to around 100,000.

Much of the city was left under water.

"The Kingdom of Morocco expresses its full solidarity with the sisterly state of Libya following the storm and floods that have affected certain regions of the country, causing several human casualties and property losses," the Moroccan foreign ministry said in a statement.

Overturned cars and other debris caused by catastrophic flash floods in Derna, eastern Libya (AFP via Getty Images)

Matt Mathers12 September 2023 15:17

It could take up to six years to rebuild some areas

It could take up to six years to rebuild some of the areas worst affected by the earthquake, Morocco president Enaam Mayara has said.

Emergency response efforts are likely to continue as teams traverse mountain roads to reach villages hit hardest by the earthquake.

Many communities lack food, water, electricity and shelter. But once aid crews and soldiers leave, the challenges facing hundreds of thousands who call the area home will probably remain.

Members of the Moroccan parliament convened Monday to create a government fund for earthquake response at the request of King Mohammed VI.

Moroccan prime minister Aziz Akhannouch said afterward that the government was committed to compensating victims and helping them rebuild.

Enaam Mayara, the president of Morocco’s House of Councilors, said that it would likely take five or six years to rebuilt some affected areas.

A man inspects damage caused by the earthquake as he walks in the old Medina of Marrakech (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Matt Mathers12 September 2023 14:21

People still stuck under rubble days after quale

People are still stuck under the rubble of buildings destroyed by the earthquake days after it struck, a volunteer has said.

Errachid Montassir, an activist and humanitarian worker, has been travelling with doctors to remote villages in the Atlas Mountains.

He told Al Jazeera it took the team five hours to reach the town of Ijjoukak because the road was blocked.

“It was a disaster and also a shock to see people still under the ground there,” he said.

“The army is doing [its] job to bring these people out of the ground, but also it’s very, very difficult to reach these places, so you can imagine that there is no food but also there’s no blankets or beds where people can sleep.”


Matt Mathers12 September 2023 13:43

Morocco quake toll likely to rise with rescuers yet to reach some remote villages

Many survivors of Morocco’s most powerful earthquake in over a century were struggling in makeshift shelters on Tuesday after a fourth night outside, with rescuers yet to reach remote mountain villages which suffered some of the worst devastation.

The death toll from the 6.8 magnitude quake that struck in the High Atlas Mountains late on Friday stood at 2,862, with 2,562 people injured, but those figures looked likely to rise. Rescuers from Spain, Britain and Qatar were helping Morocco’s search teams, while Italy, Belgium, France and Germany said their offers of assistance had yet to be approved. Hopes of finding survivors under the rubble were fading, not least because many of the traditional mud brick houses that are common in the mountain villages crumbled to earthen rubble without leaving air pockets. With the worst-hit area located in rugged, isolated terrain, the picture on Tuesday was patchy, with some organised tent camps being set up and supplies being airlifted in, while in other locations no aid at all had arrived due to roads being blocked by rocks and earth dislodged by the quake. Some survivors had camped out in the open with hastily packed bundles along the Tizi n’Test road, which connects remote valleys to Marrakech, after fleeing their destroyed villages.

"The authorities are focusing on the bigger communities and not the remote villages that are worst affected," said Hamid Ait Bouyali, 40, waiting on the roadside. "There are some villages that still have the dead buried under the rubble."


Matt Mathers12 September 2023 13:05

Morocco earthquake is most poweful in decades

The Morocco earthquake that has killed more than 2,000 people was the strongest to hit the north African nation in several decades.

The earthquake struck just after 11pm on Friday and has impacted the entire region, with tremors being felt thousands of miles away in Portugal and Algeria.

The quake’s epicentre is in the middle of the country and located at the High Atlas Mountains in the Ighil area, about 40 miles (70km) south of Marrakech.

Anuj Pant reports:

Morocco earthquake that killed over 2,000 is north Africa’s most powerful in decades

The shallower the earthquake, the more dangerous it can be

Matt Mathers12 September 2023 12:40

ActionAid UK launches emergency Morocco earthquake appeal

Charity ActionAid UK has launched an emergency Morocco earthquake appeal to support the communities most affected by the disaster.

The magnitude 6.8 tremor late on Friday damaged buildings from villages in the Atlas Mountains to the historic city of Marrakesh.

Luke O’Reilly reports:

ActionAid UK launches emergency Morocco earthquake appeal

The official death toll from the earthquake was more than 2,000 people by Sunday evening.

Matt Mathers12 September 2023 12:20

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