Over 1,000 Dead and 1,200 Injured in Earthquake (Video)

Moroccan authorities declared three days of official mourning Saturday after a rare, powerful earthquake ripped through the Atlas Mountains and the historic city of Marrakech, leaving more than 1,000 people dead and first responders struggling to reach survivors.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI also ordered the country’s armed forces to mobilize air and land rescue teams and construct a field hospital after the 6.8 magnitude quake, according to a statement from the country’s military.

At least 1,037 people have died, mostly in Marrakech and five provinces near the epicenter of the quake, with another 1,204 injured, according to reports.

In cities across the country, hundreds of residents answered the government’s call to donate blood, including members of the country’s national soccer team whose match against Liberia in the African Cup of Nations qualifier round Saturday in Agadir was postponed, as rescue teams dug through rubble to reach buried survivors. 

Congo and Gambia’s match is scheduled to go ahead on Sunday in Marrakech despite the earthquake.

Players from the two teams spent the night sleeping next to their hotel pools after the quake struck the city late Friday, according to reports

Tremors from the quake were felt as far away as Algeria and Spain’s Andalusia region, across the Strait of Gibraltar which separates the country from Morocco.

Speaking at the G20 summit in New Delhi, leaders from around the world pledged their support to the north African country. 

President Biden said he is “deeply saddened” by the earthquake and that the administration is in contact with officials in Morocco. “We are working expeditiously to ensure American citizens in Morocco are safe, and stand ready to provide any necessary assistance to the Moroccan people,” he said. 

Algeria, which broke off diplomatic relations with Morocco in 2021, announced Saturday it was standing by to provide humanitarian aid and opened its airspace to quake aid flights.

One woman told Moroccan state TV that she had lost four children and her husband.

The village of Adassil in the Atlas Mountains was almost completely reduced to rubble, video posted to X, former Twitter, showed.

On Saturday, state television showed dozens of Moroccans lining up at blood transfusion centers in Marrakech and Rabat to donate blood.

Abderrahim Ait Daoud, leader of the town of Talat N’Yaaqoub, told the Moroccan news site 2M that several homes had collapsed in his area, but the total extent of the damage in the remote region was not known because the extensive damage had blocked area roads, making it difficult for first responders to gain access, he said.

Moroccan authorities are working to clear roads in Al Haouz Province to allow passage for ambulances, according to reports.

State television also showed hundreds of people camped out in the streets of Marrakech Friday night, too afraid to return to homes that they feared would collapse after the quake.

In Marrakech, the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque showed signs of damage.

Moroccans posted videos showing damage to parts of the famous red walls that surround the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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