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Morocco Earthquake: Death Toll Soars To Almost 2,500 As Rescuers Race Against Time

As a result of the deadliest earthquake since 1960, death toll rises to almost 2,500 while hundreds others were injured. Search and rescue teams from Spain, Britain and Qatar joined in to find people buried under debris after a powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.8 struck late on September 8 Friday night in the High Atlas Mountains; with the epicentre 72 km (45 miles) southwest of Marrakech.

Morocco’s state news agency reported the death toll was now 2,497 with 2,476 people injured. In a desperate race against time, the rescuers on Monday continued searching villages reduced to mere rubble. Despairingly looking for any survivors, struck under the rubble and debris, as the scale of destruction became clearer. “It’s difficult to pull people out alive because most of the walls and ceilings turned to earthen rubble when they fell, burying whoever was inside without leaving air space,” a military aid worker told Reuters.

Many survivors on the other hand spent a third night outside their homes either destroyed or rendered unsafe. The homeless survivors are struggling to find shelters and supplies; describing government’s response as slow, although it appeared to be speeding up on Monday. On Sunday, government spokesperson Mustapha Baytas said every effort was being made on the ground. The army on the other hand said, it was reinforcing search-and-rescue teams while providing drinking water, food, tents and blankets among the survivors. Nevertheless, since the disaster struck neither King Mohammed VI nor Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch have addressed the nation.

The quake was most devastating in in the province of Al Haouz, where at least 1500 people have died. Al Haouz lies south of Morocco at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, and includes remote villages and settlements that have been difficult for rescuers to reach.

Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, US, Spain, UK and many more have sent aid to Morocco during such difficult times. The deadly earthquake did not spare the iconic cultural heritage sites as the Moroccan media announced the collapse of a major mosque from the 12th century. A portion of Marrakech’s Old City, UNESCO’s World Heritage site, was also destroyed by the earthquake.

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