France has chosen to pay tribute to the victims of this North African tragedy as Morocco Earthquake continues its hunt for survivors in the wake of a strong 6.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated the southwest of Marrakech and the neighboring areas. At 11 o’clock on Saturday, the Eiffel Tower will figuratively go dark, according to Paris City Hall and AFP.
The earthquake, which occurred late Friday night in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, caused significant damage to historic structures in Marrakech, the nearest city to the epicenter. However, the most severely affected regions were in the nearby mountains.
The Moroccan government estimated on Saturday that at least 2,012 people have tragically lost their lives, with an additional 2,059 individuals injured, of which 1,220 are in critical condition.
The US Geological Survey reported that the epicenter of the earthquake was approximately 72 km (45 miles) southwest of Marrakech.
In the village of Amizmiz, near the epicenter, rescue workers tirelessly sifted through rubble using their bare hands. Heartbreaking stories emerged from the disaster zone, such as that of Mohamed Azaw, who shared, “When I felt the earth shaking beneath my feet and the house leaning, I rushed to get my kids out. But my neighbors couldn’t. Unfortunately, no one was found alive in that family. The father and son were found dead, and they are still looking for the mother and the daughter.”
In Marrakech, several buildings, including a UNESCO World Heritage site, collapsed within the old city. Additionally, power cuts in the region disrupted internet connectivity in Marrakesh, as reported by internet monitor NetBlocks.
The USGS highlighted the vulnerability of structures in the region, emphasizing that the population lives in buildings highly susceptible to earthquake shaking.
Morocco frequently experiences earthquakes in its northern region due to its location between the African and Eurasian tectonic plates.