RAMALLAH, Saturday, September 9, 2023 (WAFA) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said today it has initiated preparations to send a rapid response team soon to Morocco in the aftermath of the tragic earthquake which hit the country last night. The earthquake has left more than 800 people dead and hundreds injured so far.
The team has been assembled with experienced personnel who have previously engaged in similar missions, such as the earthquake relief efforts in Turkey and Syria earlier this year, said the Foreign Ministry in a press statement.
The team is on standby, it said, awaiting official communication from Moroccan authorities regarding their willingness to receive rescue and emergency response delegations. Once the green light is given, the team will swiftly deploy to Morocco to provide assistance and distribute aid according to the needs identified by Moroccan authorities.
The 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Morocco’s High Atlas mountain range shortly after 11 p.m. local time at the relatively shallow depth of 18.5 kilometers, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said, with the epicenter located about 72 kilometers (44.7 miles) southwest of Marrakech, a city of some 840,000 people and a popular tourist destination.
At least 820 people were killed, and thousands more were wounded – including 51 in critical condition, state-run TV Al Aoula reported, citing Morocco’s Interior Ministry. It is Morocco’s deadliest quake since 2004, when an eartquake struck the port city of Al Hoceima and killed more than 600 people.