Morocco Earthquake Survivors Face Desperate Conditions as Death Toll Rises

Survivors of Morocco’s most devastating earthquake in over six decades are facing dire conditions, including a shortage of food, water, and shelter, as the search for missing individuals continues in remote villages. The death toll, which has already surpassed 2,100, is expected to rise further as rescue efforts are ongoing.

Many residents are preparing for a third night outdoors after the powerful 6.8 magnitude quake struck late on Friday. Relief workers are grappling with the challenge of reaching the most affected villages in the rugged High Atlas mountains, where communities are often isolated, and many homes have been reduced to rubble.

The earthquake has taken a toll on Morocco’s cultural heritage, with reports of the collapse of a historically significant 12th-century mosque. Additionally, parts of the UNESCO World Heritage site in Marrakech’s old city have been damaged.

In Moulay Brahim, a village south of Marrakech, residents describe using their bare hands to recover the bodies of the deceased from the debris. The scene is heart-wrenching, with people mourning the loss of loved ones and struggling to secure basic necessities.

The earthquake’s impact is especially severe as many homes in the region are constructed from mud bricks, timber, or cement and breeze blocks, making them susceptible to collapse. This earthquake is the deadliest in Morocco since 1960 when an estimated 12,000 lives were lost in a tremor.

Amid the devastation, foreign aid is being offered, with countries like France, Turkey, Spain, and Qatar expressing their readiness to assist. The United States has dispatched a team of disaster experts to assess the situation.

Morocco has declared three days of mourning, and King Mohammed VI has called for prayers for the victims across the country’s mosques.

As rescue efforts continue, the situation remains critical, with concerns about people trapped under rubble. The World Health Organization reports that over 300,000 people have been affected by the disaster, emphasizing the urgent need for assistance and support.

The earthquake’s epicenter was located southwest of Marrakech, a city cherished for its historical sites and vibrant culture, attracting both Moroccan and international tourists.

Also Read: Reflecting on King Charles III’s First Year: Honoring Queen Elizabeth II’s Legacy


What was the magnitude of the earthquake that struck Morocco?

  • The earthquake that struck Morocco had a magnitude of 6.8.

What is the current death toll from the earthquake in Morocco?

  • The death toll has reached 2,122, and it is expected to rise further.

How are survivors in remote villages coping with the aftermath of the earthquake?

  • Many survivors in remote villages are struggling to find food, water, and shelter. Some have been forced to spend nights in the open.

What challenges do relief workers face in reaching affected villages in the High Atlas region?

  • Relief workers face the challenge of reaching the worst-affected villages in the High Atlas, a rugged mountain range where settlements are often remote, and many houses have crumbled.

What cultural heritage was damaged by the earthquake in Morocco?

  • The earthquake caused damage to a historically important 12th-century mosque, and parts of Marrakech’s old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, were also affected.

How are residents in affected areas helping with rescue efforts?

  • Some residents are assisting in rescue efforts by digging through rubble with their bare hands to retrieve the dead and help survivors.

What are the immediate needs of the earthquake survivors in Morocco?

  • Survivors are in need of food, water, shelter, and medical assistance, and there are complaints of shortages of these essential supplies.

What assistance has Morocco received from other countries?

  • Spain has received a formal request from Morocco for assistance, and a team including 56 officers and four sniffer dogs has arrived. France and the United States have also offered assistance pending formal requests.

What is the outlook for the next 2-3 days in terms of rescue efforts?

  • The next 2-3 days are critical for finding people trapped under the rubble, according to Caroline Holt, global director of operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Has Morocco officially requested international aid for the earthquake response?

  • Morocco has not officially requested international aid for the earthquake response at the time of the article, but several countries, including France, have expressed readiness to help once a formal request is made.

How has Morocco’s government responded to the disaster?

  • The Moroccan government has taken urgent measures to address the disaster, including reinforcing search and rescue teams, providing drinking water, and distributing food, tents, and blankets.

What actions have been taken by religious leaders and institutions in Morocco in response to the earthquake?

  • King Mohammed VI of Morocco has called for prayers for the dead to be held at mosques across the country, and Pope Francis offered prayers and solidarity for the earthquake victims.

What is the significance of Marrakech in Morocco?

  • Marrakech is a city beloved by Moroccans and foreign tourists for its medieval mosques, palaces, and seminaries richly adorned with vivid mosaic tiling amid a labyrinth of rose-hued alleyways.

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