Hundreds dead after huge earthquake rocks Morocco holiday hotspot

Morocco’s Interior Ministry has said that at least 296 people have died. The magnitude 7 earthquake has caused major damage across several major cities – including Marrakech’s old city, a UNESCO world heritage site that is a popular destination for Brits.

Alexandre Krauss, a Senior Advisor EU Parliament, said the tremors were felt hundreds of miles away in Lisbon, Portugal.

Videos on social media show panicked locals and tourists pouring onto the streets, with some walls and buildings reduced to rubble.

Local officials had previously said dozens of people had been killed, according to reports. Although the epicentre of the earthquake was Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, residents of Marrakech report that some buildings had collapsed in the old city.

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The UNESCO World Heritage site is a popular destination for British Tourists. Local television has shown images of a fallen mosque minaret with rubble lying on smashed cars.

Morocco’s National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network measured the quake at seven on the Richter scale, which struck at 11.11pm on Friday. The US Geological Survey, however, measured the earth rattle as hitting 6.8 on the scale. The US agency reported a magnitude 4.9 aftershock hit 19 minutes later.

The powerful tremor was felt from the capital Rabat to Marrakech, the county’s most visited tourist destination – and as far away as Lisbon in Poruigal – despite the epicentre striking high in the Atlas Mountains.

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The earthquake struck roughly 70 kilometres south of Marrakech near Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa and Oukaimeden, a popular Moroccan ski resort.

Moroccans have shared videos online depicting crumbling buildings with some reduced to rubble after the massive shift in tectonic plates. Other videos showed serious damage to the famous red walls of parts of Marrakech’s old city, while other clips captured tourists and locals alike pouring out of restaurants in the city as throbbing club music played.

However, news agency Reuters reports that most deaths were in mountainous areas that were hard to reach, according to local officials. Pan-Arab al-Arabiya news channel reported that five people were killed from one family And news site reports that up to 50 people had died, citing unnamed officials.

On X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, EU Parliament advisor Alexandre Krauss said: “The Medina has been quite affected and parts of the wall from the old town collapsed. Many old buildings have also collapsed. The event was felt in Lisbon.”

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