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Morocco: Tinubu, Modi, Others Condole With Morocco As Earthquake Death Toll Hits 2,000

President Bola Tinubu has extended condolences to King Mohammed VI of Morocco over yesterday’s devastating earthquake in his homeland which has claimed more than 2,000 lives.

The president commiserated with all families who lost loved ones and those otherwise affected by the tragedy, while wishing a full and swift recovery to those injured.

President Tinubu in a statement by presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, assured the government and people of Morocco that the heartfelt prayers and thoughts of Nigerians were with them during this difficult moment of tragedy.

“In the face of this adversity, Nigeria will continue to stand in solidarity with Morocco as they recover, rebuild and come out stronger than ever from this unfortunate event,” the president said.

Speaking at the G20 summit in Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the international community would come to Morocco’s aid.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered “solidarity and support to the people of Morocco”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “devastated” by the news and offered assistance to Morocco.

United States President Joe Biden and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky expressed their solidarity while Vladimir Putin said Russia shared “the pain and the mourning of the friendly Moroccan people”.

A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.8 struck central Morocco, killing at least 1,000 people and causing severe damage in several areas.

Residents rushed into the streets when the quake struck at 23:11 local time on Friday.

Violent tremors were felt in several areas of the country from Casablanca to Marrakesh, where many buildings were destroyed or severely damaged. Many of the victims are believed to be in hard-to-reach mountain areas, according to the BBC.

The epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh.

By yesterday, many people were still believed to be under the rubble and rescue efforts were in progress. Several bodies have already been recovered.

Hospitals in Marrakesh have seen an influx of injured people, and the authorities have called on residents to donate blood.

Morocco’s interior ministry said the earthquake killed people in the provinces and municipalities of al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant, adding that more than 1,200 had been injured.

In Marrakesh some buildings collapsed and the damage is particularly severe in parts of the Medina, a Unesco World Heritage site.

Dust could be seen surrounding the minaret of the historic Kutubiyya mosque, a major tourist attraction near the old city’s main square, while the historic Jemaa el Fnaa mosque partly collapsed.

The quake’s epicentre in a remote area of the High Atlas Mountains was relatively shallow – and tremors were also reportedly felt in the capital Rabat, some 350km away, as well as Casablanca and Essaouira.

Simple buildings in mountain villages near the epicentre may not have survived and, being remote, it may take some time to determine casualties there. The quake was also felt in neighbouring Algeria, but officials said it had not caused any damage or casualties.

Resident Rashid Ben Arabi rushed to his car in Marrakesh minutes after the earthquake struck the city last night.

He quickly headed with his wife and one-year-old daughter to the town of Amizmiz – about 56km (35 miles) from Marrakesh – to make sure his father and mother were still alive.

He said the roads were full as everyone fled the city amid complete darkness and a power outage.

“As soon as I entered my town, I saw people in a hysterical state, crying and screaming, and everyone was looking for their families,” he said.

“I saw a man lying on the ground by the rubble of his house; he could hear the screams of his two children trapped under the destroyed building, but he couldn’t do anything to help them; rescue teams hadn’t yet arrived at the scene.”

Rashid eventually found his parents who were safe and sound but wrapped in blankets and sleeping in the street.

They were among the many people who spent the night out in the open as the Moroccan government had warned everyone not to go back into their homes in case of severe aftershocks.

A 4.9 aftershock was recorder 19 minutes after the earthquake. The extent of the damage in mountain villages is instead unknown, but it is believed to be widespread. (BBC NEWS)

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