About 820 people are reported dead following an earthquake with a 6.8 magnitude that has hit west of Morocco’s fourth largest city, Marrakesh, leaving several injured, and causing massive damage to infrastructure.
According to state authorities, the devastation struck at 23:11 local time Friday evening, succeeded by a 4.9 aftershock 19 minutes later.
The country’s Interior Ministry said most of the victims reside in remote areas. Others live in the provinces and municipalities of al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant.
The earthquake’s epicenter was 71km southwest of Marrakesh in the High Atlas Mountains, at an 18.5km depth, according to the US Geological Survey, as per a report by the BBC.
More than 600 residents are said to be injured with over 200 in critical condition.
Distraught residents have had to flee from their razed homes to safety while others anxiously await news concerning missing loved ones.
Hospitals are working double time to cater to the influx of injured persons.
Meanwhile, efforts are underway to rescue those still trapped under the rubble of the demolished buildings.
The Interior Ministry has also urged panicked residents to maintain calm amidst the devastation to bring the situation under control.