Fears grow for Brits missing after Morocco earthquake as 2,000 people killed

Fears are growing for British tourists who have not been in touch with family since Morocco’s most powerful earthquake in 120 years hit.

Holidaying in Marrakech, Hilary Mckegney and friend Rebecca Calvert have both not made contact with family since the earthquake hit and fears grow as many other Brits could be in danger as the death toll surpassed 2,000.

Its epicentre was close to the Moroccan city, the country’s most popular destination for foreign tourism, and it’s estimated that between 5,000 and 8,000 holidaymakers are believed to be staying there, reports the Mirror. 

The powerful earthquake, which hit 7.2 on the Richter scale, saw onlookers watch as hundreds of buildings collapsed in the area, with more than 2,000 dead, and more than 1,000 injured, according to Morrocan officials

So far, no Britons have been confirmed among the dead, but the worry is growing over holidaymakers reported missing, including Ms Calvert, 65, and Ms Mckegney, 64, who have not been in contact with loved ones since the quake hit.

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Ms Calvert’s daughter, Katie, 27, has called on the Foreign Office to send in rescue teams to try and find them, reports the Mirror.

She said: “We are sick with worry. They were staying in a small village called Imlil in the Atlas mountains. We last heard from them at 9.30pm on Friday. We have reported them missing. We’re desperate for help. We just want to know they are safe.”

The pair were due to fly home on Monday, and multiple flights landed in Marrakech from the UK on Friday just hours before the tragedy occurred, including departures from Manchester, Birmingham, Stansted, Luton and Gatwick.

The monster quake even caused tremors in neighbouring Algeria, and Portugal more than 600 miles away. At least 300,0000 people have been affected, both in the city and surrounding areas, Horrifying videos and images show the tragic effect it has had on people on the ground, with entire families wiped out, and a grief-stricken mum losing her husband and their children.

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Clips on social media have shown people running for safety, buildings collapsing, people trapped under rubble, smashed cars covered in debris, as well as the city’s famous red walls damaged.

And even more heartbreaking, remote mountain village residents began to bury their dead, and in Moulay Brahim, 30 miles south of the city, people are seen lining up bodies and performing burial prayers.

At least 40 villagers were dead with the number expected to rise. One father said of the moment the quake struck: “We thought it was the day of judgement. I began running and evacuated my four children.” Then he saved his wife and parents.

Foreign secretary James Cleverly said the Government would “stand ready to help our Moroccan friends in whatever way we can”. US president Joe Biden said he was “ready to provide any necessary assistance”. As soon as the Moroccan government gives the green light around 1,000 rescuers from across the globe are expected to join local teams trying to pull victims from the destruction.

Red Cross spokesperson Tommaso Della Longa said: “The first 24 to 48 hours are critical to save lives of the people under the rubble.” The quake struck shortly after 11pm local time on Friday with its epicentre near the ski resort of Oukaimeden in the Atlas Mountains, only 44 miles from Marrakech.

A 4.9 magnitude aftershock followed 19 minutes later. Most of the dead are understood to be in hard-to-reach mountain areas and medics last night warned of a shortage of blood reserves. Paris Saint-Germain footballer Achraf Hakimi, 24, was among Moroccan stars posting pictures of themselves donating blood. Charities in the UK have sprung into action, raising thousands to help those on the ground.

The British Red Cross has launched an emergency fundraising appeal and the British Moroccan Society fundraiser on GoFundme had raised £30,000 within hours. The Foreign Office has advised tourists to follow safety instructions from local authorities. Anyone in the UK concerned about a loved one in Morocco can call 020 7008 5000.

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