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Morocco earthquake deaths exceed 2,000

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At least 2,012 are said to have been killed following the 6.8 magnitude quake which struck Southwest  of Marrakesh on Friday night. The country’s Interior Ministry said 2,059 have been injured, including 1,404 who remain in a critical condition.

The World Health Organization said more than 300,000 people were affected in Marrakech and surrounding areas. On Saturday, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the UK would continue to support nationals in the region, adding: “We stand ready to help our Moroccan friends in whatever way we can.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak added: “My thoughts are with everyone affected by the terrible earthquake in Morocco last night.

“The UK stands ready to support our Moroccan friends.”

Neighbours were still searching for survivors buried on the slopes, where houses of mud brick, stone and rough wood were cracked open and mosque minarets toppled by the quake that struck late on Friday.

In the village of Amizmiz near the epicentre, rescue workers picked through rubble with their bare hands. Fallen masonry blocked narrow streets. Outside a hospital, around 10 bodies lay covered in blankets as grieving relatives stood nearby.

Morocco declared three days of national mourning, during which the national flag will be flown at half mast throughout the country, the royal court said on Saturday.

The Moroccan armed forces will deploy rescue teams to provide affected areas with clean drinking water, food supplies, tents and blankets, it added.

Turkey, where powerful earthquakes in February killed more than 50,000 people, was among nations expressing solidarity and offering to provide support.

Algeria, which broke off ties with Morocco in 2021 after escalating tensions between the countries focused on the Western Sahara conflict, said it would open airspace for humanitarian and medical flights.

(Evening Standard)

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