A rare and powerful earthquake struck Morocco late Friday night, killing more than 600 people and damaging buildings from villages in the Atlas Mountains to the historic city of Marrakech. The 6.8-magnitude quake is the strongest ever recorded in the mountain region and casualty figures are expected to rise. Read our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
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11:19am: Epicentre difficult to reach, heavy casualties expected
The epicentre of Friday’s earthquake is located in a very remote mountainous area and will be very difficult for rescue teams to reach, FRANCE 24’s Foreign Editor James Andre explained, noting the casualty figures are therefore expected to rise.
“For now we don’t have any reports on what the situation in this area is exactly, only witnesses saying they haven’t been able to contact their families, or, as one lady was saying, that she had members of her family killed for sure,” he said.
“We can expect massive damage and heavy casualties.”
Watch the full analysis in the video below:
10:29am: Condolences pour in for Morocco, including from Ukraine, Russia and Turkey
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday expressed solidarity with Morocco, expressing his country’s deepest condolences “for the lives lost in the horrible earthquake”.
“I wish those injured a fast recovery. Ukraine stands in solidarity with Morocco during this tragic time,” he wrote on social media.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin followed suit.
“In Russia, we share the pain and the mourning of the friendly Moroccan people,” he said in message to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country – along with Syria – was struck by devastating earthquakes in February this year, said: “We stand by our Moroccan brothers with all our means in this difficult day.”
In a separate statement, the Turkish foreign ministry said Ankara was ready to provide all kinds of support “to heal the wounds of the earthquake in Morocco”.
Dost ve kardeş Fas’ta meydana gelen deprem felaketinden etkilenen tüm Fas halkına geçmiş olsun dileklerimi iletiyorum. Hayatını kaybedenlere Allah’tan rahmet, yaralılara acil şifalar diliyorum. Bu zor gününde tüm imkânlarımızla Faslı kardeşlerimizin yanındayız. 🇹🇷🇲🇦
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) September 9, 2023
9:59am: France’s Macron ‘devastated’ by Morocco quake, promises aid
French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday he was “devastated” by the earthquake in Morocco, which has killed at least 600 people, and offered to help relief efforts.
“We are all devastated after the terrible earthquake in Morocco,” Macron said on X, formerly known as Twitter, while onboard a flight to the G20 summit in India. “France stands ready to help with first aid.”
Nous sommes tous bouleversés après le terrible séisme au Maroc. La France se tient prête à aider aux premiers secours.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 9, 2023
8:48am: Death toll climbs
The earthquake has killed at least 632 people and injured 329 others, according to an updated interior ministry toll.
Of those injured, 51 are in critical condition, the ministry said.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, Reuters)