Scenes from Morocco after devastating earthquake

International rescue teams arrive to try to help recovery efforts following Friday’s disaster

The 6.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Morocco on Friday night has claimed the lives of more than 2,100 people, the country’s interior ministry has said, and injured a further 2,421. Authorities warn that the death toll is expected to rise as rescue and recovery efforts enter the fourth day.

There are “scenes of destruction and despair” in the villages across the Atlas Mountains, the epicentre of the earthquake, said CNN. The “remote” region has suffered badly, with “homes made from mud bricks crumbling onto residents” and boulders obstructing the roads used by rescue teams. Some villages have been “entirely wiped out”, said The Guardian.

“At least two dozen aftershocks have rattled the region” over the weekend, said Al Jazeera, and people slept outside for fear of being harmed by further tremors or damage to their homes. “Rescuers are racing against time” to find survivors trapped in the rubble, said CNN.

The shock at what has happened is partly due to Morocco being “not really the place where such powerful earthquakes occur”, said the BBC.

On Saturday, King Mohammed VI announced that the North African country would observe three days of national mourning.

Specialist rescue teams and foreign aid are heading to Morocco to assist in the recovery effort, said The Guardian. “We are looking at many months if not years of response”, said Hossam Elsharkawi, the Red Cross’s Middle East and North Africa director.

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Julia O'Driscoll is the engagement editor. She covers UK and world news, as well as writing lifestyle and travel features. She regularly appears on “The Week Unwrapped” podcast, and hosted The Week's short-form documentary podcast, “The Overview”. Julia was previously the content and social media editor at sustainability consultancy Eco-Age, where she interviewed prominent voices in sustainable fashion and climate movements. She has a master's in liberal arts from Bristol University, and spent a year studying at Charles University in Prague.