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A powerful earthquake shook the country of Morocco on Friday night, causing widespread destruction and casualties.
The quake, a magnitude-6.8, destroyed buildings and crumpled walls across the five provinces at its epicenter near the town of Ighil in Al Haouz Province.
“The problem is that where destructive earthquakes are rare, buildings are simply not constructed robustly enough to cope with strong ground shaking, so many collapse resulting in high casualties,” Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, said to The Associated Press.
7.2 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE OFF ALASKAN COAST TRIGGERS TSUNAMI WARNING
A rescuer searches for survivors under the rubble of a house destroyed in an earthquake in Moulay Brahim, Al-Haouz province, on September 9, 2023. Morocco’s deadliest earthquake in decades has killed at least 1000 people, officials said on September 9, causing widespread damage and sending terrified residents and tourists scrambling to safety in the middle of the night. (FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)
“I would expect the final death toll to climb into the thousands once more is known. As with any big quake, aftershocks are likely, which will lead to further casualties and hinder search and rescue,” he added.
The nation’s monarch, King Mohammed VI, has mobilized land and air teams to conduct rescue missions and set up field hospitals.
ISRAEL AFFIRMS MOROCCO’S CLAIM OVER WESTERN SAHARA
Residents stay out at a square in Marrakesh on September 9, 2023, after an earthquake. A powerful earthquake that struck Morocco on September 8 night has killed at least 632 people and injured 329 others, according to an updated interior ministry toll. (FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)
However, the Moroccan government has not yet officially requested aid from foreign allies, limiting the deployment of French, German, Turkey, and other nations who have already pledged resources.
Thus far, just over 1,000 fatalities have been reported, with the total expected to rise as operations search for survivors.
24 KILLED IN CENTRAL MOROCCO AFTER MINIBUS OVERTURNS WHILE HEADING TO LOCAL MARKET
Rescuers use a small excavator to search for survivors under the rubble of a collapsed house in Moulay Brahim, Al Haouz province, on September 9, 2023, after an earthquake. Morocco’s deadliest earthquake in decades has killed at least 820 people, officials said on September 9, causing widespread damage and sending terrified residents and tourists scrambling to safety in the middle of the night. (FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Another 1,204 people have been injured — 721 of which are in critical condition.
Ancient architecture and buildings not constructed to withstand rare earthquakes were overwhelmed by the power of the disaster.
Search and Rescue team operations continues at Moulay Brahim region after a 7 magnitude earthquake in Marrakesh, Morocco on September 9, 2023. At least 820 people were killed and 672 others injured following a powerful earthquake that struck Morocco, the country’s Interior Ministry said Saturday. (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The 6.8 magnitude quake struck at approximately 11:11pm and lasted several seconds, according to geologists.
It was felt in foreign countries as distant as Portugal.
Timothy Nerozzi is a writer for Fox News Digital. You can follow him on Twitter @timothynerozzi and can email him at [email protected]