A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains on Friday, September 9, 2023, at 9: 22 p.m. local time (2:22 p.m. UTC). The epicenter was located about 72 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of Marrakech, a popular tourist city of about 840, 000 people. The earthquake was felt in several other countries, including Algeria, Tunisia, and Spain.
The earthquake caused widespread damage in the High Atlas Mountains, including the collapse of buildings and infrastructure. The most affected areas were the rural communities of Imilchil, Azilal, and Ouarzazate. The death toll has surpassed 2, 100, with more than 2, 400 injured.
The earthquake also caused damage in Marrakech, but the city's modern buildings were largely spared. However, the historic Medina district, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was badly damaged. Many old buildings collapsed, including mosques, palaces, and shops.
The Moroccan government has declared three days of national mourning for the victims of the earthquake. Rescue teams are still working in the affected areas, but the difficult terrain and poor infrastructure are hampering their efforts.
Morocco is located in a seismically active region, and earthquakes are not uncommon. However, the September 9 earthquake was the most powerful to hit the country in more than 120 years. The earthquake is a reminder of the vulnerability of the region to natural disasters, and the need for better disaster preparedness.
If you are planning to travel to Marrakech, it is important to be aware of the risk of staying the old Medina. Aftershock was frequent during the 2 days before the larger earthquake, but at this time, they became rare and barely detectable. A part from Marrakech Old Medina, the rest of Marrakech and Morocco are safe.
- IBAN: MA64001810007800020110620318
- SWIFT CODE: BKAMMAMR