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Earthquake in Morocco was the strongest to hit the region in more than a century, says agency

The 6.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Morocco on Friday (8) was the strongest tremor to hit that part of the North African nation in more than a century, according to the United States Geological Survey.

At least 296 people died and another 153 were injured, according to state broadcaster Al-Aoula.

“Earthquakes of this size in the region are uncommon, but not unexpected. Since 1900, there have been no M6 (magnitude 6) and larger earthquakes within a 500 km radius of this earthquake, and only nine M5 (magnitude 5) and larger earthquakes,” the agency noted.

The epicenter of the earthquake occurred at a depth of 18.5 km, about 72 km northeast of Marrakech, shortly after 11 pm local time (7 pm Brasília time), according to the US Geological Survey.

The agency also says “the disaster is potentially widespread,” noting that many people in the area reside in structures that are “highly vulnerable to earthquakes.”

Rescue has difficulty and authority asks for blood donation

Rescue teams in Morocco are having difficulty reaching areas most affected by the earthquake that hit the country because nearby roads are damaged and blocked, state TV Al Aoula reported.

Meanwhile, the Moroccan Blood Transfusion and Hematology Center has asked the population to donate blood to help the victims.

According to the agency, the number of injured and the type of injuries mean that blood bags will be needed as soon as possible.

CNN team in Marrakech describes “absolutely shocking” scene

Benjamin Brown, team member at CNN who was in Marrakech when the earthquake occurred, said it took a while for people nearby to understand what was happening.

He said he and others left the hotel after feeling the tremors and headed to open land. At first, Brown said, most people — including some still in their pajamas — seemed calm.

“And then, a few minutes later, the screaming started,” he recalled.

Panic set in when people began to notice his injuries, said Brown, who spoke to the newsroom by phone. CNN with Michael Holmes.

“Some of them appeared to have serious head injuries with a lot of blood, in fact, so serious that in at least one case an ambulance had to turn away an injured woman because they were at full capacity,” he pointed out.

Afterward, many people decided to camp overnight, Brown said. “Absolutely shocking scene for Marrakech,” he added.

There were many partially destroyed buildings, some with roofs ripped off and glass windows broken, Brown reported, and parts of Marrakech’s historic walls were crumbling.

Damaged historic walls

The earthquake damaged parts of Marrakech’s historic walls, according to the country’s Al Aoula state TV.

The fortifications are a set of defensive walls that surround the historic districts of Marrakech and were first built at the beginning of the 12th century.

*published by Tiago Tortella, from CNN

Source: CNN Brasil

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