Authorities in Morocco say the death toll has now passed 2,000 following the catastrophic earthquake that struck the Atlas Mountain region late Friday night. The number of injured also has soared to 2,059 people, more than half of them in critical condition, according to an update from the interior ministry.
King Muhammad VI has declared a three-day period of mourning, while governments around the world sent condolences and promised resources to assist the hard-hit North African nation.
The magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck at 11:11 p.m. local time, with an epicenter in the ski resort region of Oukaïmedene. That’s about 72 kilometers from the historic city of Marrakesh, and halfway between there and the coastal city of Agadir. The earthquake was the largest to hit Morocco since 2004, and was felt in Spain, Algeria, and other Mediterranean nations.
People who experienced the quake initially reported broken glass, cracks in buildings, and other damage to the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) website. It became clear, however, that damage was catastrophic in villages closest to the epicenter, where many have died and survivors are homeless and in need of humanitarian aid.
That aid is on the way from Jordan, Turkey, Israel, and beyond. International bodies including the African Union and the League of Arab States also have sent message of support, as did the leaders of Ghana, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and other African neighbors.
“We are all devastated after the terrible earthquake in Morocco,” said President Emmanual Macron. “France stands ready to help with first aid.”