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Death Toll in Morocco Continues to Climb, as Rescuers Scramble for Survivors

People comfort each other while digging graves for victims of the earthquake, in Ouargane village, near Marrakech, Morocco, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. A rare, powerful earthquake struck Morocco, sending people racing from their beds into the streets and toppling buildings in mountainous villages and ancient cities not built to withstand such force. InternationalIndiaAfricaMary ManleyMorocco has not experienced an earthquake this deadly in more than six decades. In fact, the 1960 Agadir quake that struck at a magnitude of 5.8 claimed upwards of 12,000 lives in the North African nation.As an international team of rescuers race to find earthquake survivors in Morocco, the death toll has continued to climb and has since reached 2,862, according to latest figures released by the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior.At least another 2,562 people have been injured by the deadly earthquake. Insiders have noted that the traditional mud brick homes, which are common in the area, have made it more difficult to find survivors. Search teams from Spain, Britain and Qatar have been aiding Moroccan rescuers. Many Moroccans spent the second night following the earthquake on the streets, terrified of added damages that could be brought on by aftershocks.Morocco has been selective about how much help they are to receive in addressing the natural disaster. According to reports, officials indicated they would prefer to maintain control and do not want to run the risk of the search-and-rescue efforts becoming uncoordinated and overwhelmed.

"A lack of coordination in such cases would be counterproductive," authorities have said.

A Pentagon spokesperson said that the government of Morocco had not requested assistance from the US Defense Department.

“We do have approximately 100 US forces that are in the country that are there for exercise planning, not related to the current situation. They’re all accounted for,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder. “We’ll continue to monitor the situation, but we’ve not been asked to provide any support.”

The first 72 hours following a natural disaster are the most important for rescuing survivors, after which time the chance of saving victims begins to diminish. Authorities have warned the death toll will continue to rise.Friday’s earthquake had the destructive force of 25 nuclear bombs, according to Dr. Iyd al-Tarazi, a professor at the Department of Seismology and Natural Hazards at the Hashemite University in Jordan, who spoke to Sputnik Arabic.AfricaMorocco’s Recent Earthquake Strongest Since 1755 — Seismologist10 September, 05:10 GMTThe 6.9-magnitude earthquake first hit Morocco 77 kilometers (48 miles) southwest of the city of Marrakesh. The earthquake also struck with a depth of about 11 miles, making it a “shallow earthquake,” which tends to be more destructive. According to one Moroccan geological researcher, an earthquake of similar magnitude has not struck the African country since 1755.Those who have been affected by the earthquake are among Morocco’s poorest, and many of the homes that have been destroyed by the quake lacked electricity or running water, reports detailed. About 25 miles south of Marrakesh, a military field hospital and displacement camp have been set up for civilians in need. Morocco’s civil protection service was also able to erect 30 tents for families at the camp.“The situation is currently stable,” Yaqoubi Abdelhadi, a doctor at a medical center near the epicenter, said Sunday afternoon, as aid workers from the Red Cross and Red Crescent helped victims into nearby ambulances. “But since people haven’t yet come from remote areas, we are on high alert to brace for what may come.”According to one report, a man, Afouzar, was at his sister’s home when the earthquake hit. As soon as the ground started to shake he ran home in an attempt to get to his wife and two children. But the moment he reached the door, the home collapsed and from within he could hear his family screaming for help.With help, Afouzar was able to dig through the rubble and reach his wife; however, his 18-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter died in the collapse. His son’s arms were found wrapped around his daughter, as if he was trying to protect her amidst the disaster, a relative said.“I feel that the world is done for me,” Afouzar said. “I lost my house, I lost my family.”Marrakesh’s Medina and city walls, historical treasures adored by tourists, were damaged by the earthquake, while the Tinmal Mosque in the High Atlas mountains, were also damaged.On Sunday, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI declared three days of mourning and ordered mosques nationwide to hold funeral prayers on Sunday following the natural disaster.He also thanked Spain, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates for sending aid to assist with the effects of the earthquake.

"On these basis, the Moroccan authorities responded, at this particular stage, to the offers of support made by friendly countries Spain, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, which suggested mobilizing a group of search and rescue teams," the king said, according to an Interior Ministry statement.

«Moreover, with the progress of interventions, the assessment of potential needs may develop, which may lead to going back to offers of support from other friendly countries, according to the needs of each stage separately.»

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