At least 296 people were killed as a result of a powerful earthquake in Morocco late Friday evening, the Ministry of the Interior of the country said.
Moroccans have released videos showing buildings reduced to rubble and dust, as well as parts of the famous red walls that surround the old city in historic Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Tourists and others posted videos of people screaming and evacuating the city’s restaurants as club music blared.
The US Geological Survey said the initial magnitude of the earthquake was 6.8 when it struck at 11:11 p.m. local time, with tremors lasting several seconds. The agency said the 4.9-magnitude aftershock struck 19 minutes later.
“The ground shook for about 20 seconds,” said Hamid Afkir, a teacher in a mountainous area west of the epicenter near Tarudant. “The doors opened and closed on their own as I quickly descended from the second floor.”
In Marrakesh’s densely packed old city, some houses collapsed and people were working to remove debris by hand while they waited for heavy equipment, said resident Id Waaziz Hassan.
Footage of the medieval city wall showed large cracks in one section and collapsed sections in a street littered with rubble.
Another resident of Marrakesh, Brahim Himmi, said he saw ambulances leaving the old city and damaged facades of many buildings. He said that people are scared and stay outside in case of another earthquake.
People in Rabat, about 350 kilometers north of Igil, and the coastal town of Imsouan, about 180 kilometers to the west, also left their homes for fear of a stronger quake, witnesses told Reuters.
Some videos shared on social media, which Reuters could not immediately verify, appeared to show at least one building collapsing and rubble littering the streets.
Others showed people running from malls, restaurants and apartment buildings and congregating outside.
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