Rabat, Sep 9 (EFE).- Morocco was hit by a magnitude-7 earthquake overnight leaving at least 632 people dead and another 329 injured – 51 of them in severe condition -, according to official figures Saturday.
According to a seismic alert issued by Morocco’s National Institute of Geophysics, the earthquake struck at 23:11 local time (00:11 GMT Saturday).
It had its epicenter in the town of Ighil, located 80 kilometers southwest of the city of Marrakech, at a depth of 8 kilometers, the bulletin said.
The interior minister said in a statement that the casualties were updated as of 7am local time.
It added that 290 people fatalities were recorded in the province of Al Haouz, -south of Marrakech and near the epicenter-, another 190 in Taroudant, 89 more in Chichaoua, 30 in Ouarzazate, 13 in Marrakech, 11 in Azilal, 5 in Agadir, 3 in Casablanca and 1 in Al Youssoufia.
The injured, of varying severity, were transferred to hospitals, the ministry said, adding that material damages were also reported from uninhabited areas.
The ministry also asked people to maintain calm, and reported the mobilization of security and civil protection forces from all the affected regions for rescue and relief efforts.
On social media, Moroccans have shared numerous photos and videos showing damaged and fallen buildings, as well as those dead and injured.
Several buildings in the old part (medina) of Marrakech were damaged.
Residents of Marrakech recounted to EFE the moments of the earthquake that lasted several minutes and left damaged buildings and mosques in the old city.
Khalid, a resident of medina, said the minaret of the Bab Ailan mosque fell to the ground because of the tremor and the entrance to the temple was also damaged.
Another resident of the city said that after the earthquake the iconic Jemaa el-Fnaa square was filled with people against the fear of aftershocks, and that the authorities did not let citizens walk through the narrow streets of the medina.
Eye witnesses contacted by EFE said the earthquake was also felt in the northern towns such as Larache, 550 kilometers from the epicenter, as well as in Casablanca and Rabat, 300 and 370 kilometers, respectively. EFE