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Breaking News: More than 800 dead after strong earthquake in Morocco

The strong earthquake that hit Morocco on Friday night (8) – Brazilian time – has already left 820 dead and 672 injured, according to a balance released by the Ministry of the Interior for state TV. The number of victims, however, is not definitive and could increase, according to the same authorities.

The tremor, lasting about 15 seconds, damaged villages in the Atlas Mountains to the historic city of Marrakesh.

The earthquake occurred at around 7:30 pm (Brasília time), reached magnitude 6.8 and occurred at a depth of 18.5 km, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The earthquake’s epicenter was high in the Atlas Mountains, 70 km south of Marrakesh, where the highest number of deaths are concentrated. The region is also close to Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, and Oukaimeden, a popular Moroccan ski resort.

The hardest hit provinces were Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakesh, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant.

Men, women and children remained on the streets in some towns in the region, fearing retribution. There are also videos showing people leaving shopping centers, restaurants and residential buildings.

A second, weaker tremor occurred 15 minutes later, international news agencies reported.

According to information from the Reuters news agency, a country official declared that there are dozens of dead in areas of difficult access to the south of Marrakesh.

On the social network X (formerly Twitter), there are reports of people running through the streets while buildings swayed. According to news agencies, several buildings collapsed.

The tremor was felt in other countries: there are reports in press vehicles in Portugal, Spain and Algeria.

Talat N’Yaaqoub town chief Abderrahim Ait Daoud told Moroccan news website 2M that several houses in towns in the Al Haouz region had partially or completely collapsed, electricity had been cut and roads were blocked in some sections.

Ait Daoud also said that authorities are clearing roads in the province to allow ambulances to pass through.

Images shared on social media showed people running and screaming near Marrakesh’s 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Moroccan media reported that the mosque suffered damage.

Tremors in the region

Morocco frequently experiences earthquakes in its northern region due to its location between the African and Eurasian plates. In 2004, at least 628 people died and 926 were injured when an earthquake shook Alhucemas, in the northeast of the country.

In 1980, the earthquake in El Asnam, Algeria, with a magnitude of 7.3, was one of the most destructive in the region: it killed 2,500 people and left 300,000 homeless.

Escombros após forte terremoto em Marrakesh, Marrocos — Foto: Al Maghribi Al Youm / via Reuters