A devastating earthquake shook Morocco on Friday night, September 8, 2023. It was the most destructive earthquake in over 100 years, with a Richter strength of 6.8. More than 1000 people lost their lives and hundreds were injured. Many buildings and roads were ruined, especially in the mountain villages near the earthquake site and in the old city of Marrakesh.
- Note: The statistics are based on the current situation after the Morocco earthquake. There is a possibility of an increase in casualties and other damages. Since these statistics are based on day 1 after the earthquake, they cannot be considered final.
The earthquake started in the High Atlas mountains, about 71 km from Marrakesh, a beautiful city that many tourists visit and is preserved by UNESCO.
The earthquake was perceived by many in Morocco and other nearby countries, like Algeria, Spain, and Portugal. It also caused smaller earthquakes to happen after it, called aftershocks. One of them was 4.9 on the Richter scale and happened 19 minutes later. Many people were frightened and ran out of their houses. They slept outside, worried that more earthquakes would come and ruin their houses.
The Moroccan government did everything to help the impacted people and asked for blood donations for the injured.
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The earthquake also caused damage to some of Morocco’s old and magnificent buildings and historical sites. In Marrakesh, there is a place called the Medina that has been there since the 11th century. It has many shops, mosques, palaces, and gardens that people love to see. Some of them were damaged or broken in the earthquake.
The Koutoubia Mosque, the biggest mosque in Marrakesh and a symbol of the city, also got damage.
Previous History of earthquakes in Morocco
Due to its location near two tectonic plates, Morocco has suffered many earthquakes in the past. In 2004, a 6.3 earthquake killed more than 600 people in a city called Al Hoceima in the northeast of Morocco. Morocco’s deadliest earthquake was in 1960, when a 5.8 earthquake on the coast killed about 12,000 people.
The earthquake had recently shows nature can be very destructive and unpredictable. It also shows us that we need to be ready and strong to cope with such catastrophes. We need to try to save as many lives and things as we can.