Morocco earthquake: Dozens reported dead as buildings are damaged

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Frightened Casablanca residents fled their homes and took to the streets

A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake has struck central Morocco and local media say dozens of people have been killed.

The US Geological Survey said the quake was centered in the High Atlas Mountains, 71 km (44 miles) southwest of Marrakesh, at a depth of 18.5 km.

The earthquake struck at 23:11 local time (22:11 GMT). Unverified video clips on X (formerly Twitter) show damaged buildings and collapsed streets.

People can be seen running around nervously. An official says at least 30 people have died.

A resident told Reuters news agency that some buildings had collapsed in Marrakesh’s old city. Several clips in X show buildings collapsing, but the BBC has not identified where they were.

Local residents are said to have decided to stay out of their homes when the city was rocked by powerful earthquakes.

Another person in the historic city described seeing “violent shaking” and “buildings moving”.

“People were all in shock and panic. Children were crying, parents were distraught,” Abdelhaq El Amrani told AFP.

He said electricity and telephone lines were cut for ten minutes.

A family was trapped in the rubble of a collapsed house – and several people in the city were taken to hospital, AFP reported.

The quake’s epicenter was relatively shallow in a remote area of ​​the High Atlas Mountains – and tremors were said to have been felt in the capital Rabat, 350 km away, as well as in Casablanca and Essaouira.

Simple buildings in mountain villages near the epicenter may not have survived, and because of the distance, it may take some time to detect casualties there.

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