More than 1000 people have died after a powerful earthquake struck the North African country of Morocco on Friday night. Hundreds have been injured.
The quake is the strongest to hit the nation’s center in more than a century, and its epicenter was not far from popular tourist and economic hub Marrakech.
Here’s what we know so far.
When and where did the quake hit?
The earthquake struck at around 11:11 p.m. local time. Its epicenter was located in the High Atlas mountain range, about 72 kilometers (44.7 miles) southwest of Marrakech, a city of about 840,000 people.
But its impact was felt as far north as Casablanca, as this map shows.
The quake had a magnitude of 6.8, which classes it as “strong” on the magnitude scale. It also struck at a relatively shallow death, making it more destructive.
Earthquakes of this size in the region are uncommon, according to the US Geological Survey, but not unexpected. It noted that nine quakes with a magnitude of 5 or higher have hit the area since 1900, however none of them have had a magnitude higher than 6.
The earthquake is Morocco’s deadliest since 1960 when a quake killed more than 12,000 people.
More than 300,000 people have been affected in Marrakech and surrounding areas, according to the WHO. Historic sites have been damaged.
But the hardest hit-areas are those nearest to the Atlas Mountains.
Hundreds have died in the province of Al Haouz and nearly 200 in the southwestern Moroccan city of Taroudant.
The precise scale of the quake is still emerging.
Rescue operations are underway, despite some roads being damaged or blocked by debris. Some remote villages on the foothills of the mountain have been hard to access.
Mohammed, 50, from the town of Ouirgane, lost four family members in the quake. “I managed to get out safely with my two children but lost the rest. My house is gone.” he said.
Rescue operations are currently ongoing “We are out in the streets with authorities as they try to pull the dead from the rubble. Many many people were transported to hospital in front of me. We are hoping for miracles from the rubble” he said.
In Marrakech some residents spent the night in the streets, afraid to return to their homes. Others fled the city altogether. There have been warning of aftershocks.
Morocco’s government said it had activated all available resources to tackle the quake and urged people to “avoid panic.”
Many world leaders have expressed their commiserations, as well as offered support to Morocco.
Turkey, which was hit by a devastating earthquake that killed tens of thousands earlier this year, has said it is ready to send 265 personnel and 1,000 tents to Morocco to support aid efforts.
Algeria, which severed diplomatic ties with Morocco in 2021 and closed its airspace to all planes registered in Morocco, said it will reopen its airspace for humanitarian aid and medical flights going to and from the Arab nation.
The United Nations, US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron have also said they are ready to provide assistance.
Many other world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have sent their condolences.