Rare Powerful Earthquake Strikes Morocco, Leaves 2,000+ Dead
Rescue workers search for survivors in a collapsed house in Moulay Brahim, Al Haouz province, on September 9, 2023, after an earthquake. Morocco's deadliest earthquake in decades has killed at least 820 people, officials said on September 9, causing widespread damage and sending terrified residents and tourists scrambling to safety in the middle of the night.
FADEL SENNA / AFP via Getty Images

A powerful and rare earthquake struck the northern African nation of Morocco late on Friday night, at least 2,000 dead and more than 1,800 injured.

The earthquake hit the western part of the nation — which is located across from Spain just south of the Strait of Gibraltar.

The New York Times reported that the 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck in the High Atlas Mountains close to midnight. It was the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in more than 120 years.

The Times noted that the country is “positioned at the juncture of a slow-motion tectonic crash between the African and Eurasian plates” with the plates only colliding 4 to 6 millimeters per year. The San Andreas Fault, for comparison, shifts approximately 50 millimeters per year, the report said.

The U.S. Geological Survey says that the most likely accurate estimate for the number of fatalities from the incident could be as high as 10,000.


Morocco’s King Mohammed VI held a meeting where he issued orders directing his government’s response to the tragedy, including instructions to “immediately set up an inter-ministerial commission responsible for deploying a relief program, emergency rehabilitation and assistance in the reconstruction of destroyed housing in disaster areas, as soon as possible.”

The Biden administration also issued a statement offering support to the country.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life from yesterday’s earthquake in Morocco and extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those affected,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “We offer our support and solidarity to our Moroccan partners at this tragic time.”

Multiple nations offered support to Morocco following the earthquake, including Turkey, which is still recovering from a devastating earthquake that it experienced back in February, killing more than 50,000 people.

Moroccan soccer team star Achraf Hakimi posted to social media a request for people to donate blood to help the victims of the earthquake.

“We are living in difficult times and our thoughts are with the injured and the families of the victims,” he wrote. “Let’s all cooperate and contribute to saving the wounded by donating blood. To God we belong and to him we shall return.”

This is a developing news story; refresh the page for updates.

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