Islamic Relief’s thoughts and prayers are with the people of Morocco, as they face the aftermath of one of the strongest earthquakes in years.
The powerful quake struck at 11.11pm last night (8 September), killing more than 2,000 people – a grim death toll that is likely to rise in the days ahead.
High Atlas mountain villages at the earthquake epicentre
Many of the dead are thought to be in remote villages in the High Atlas mountains, the epicentre of the earthquake. Residents are using whatever equipment they can find as they struggle to reach their neighbours under the rubble.
Blocked roads are preventing ambulances from reaching the wounded, and while officials are scrambling to clear debris, rescue and relief efforts are difficult amid the mountainous terrain, risk of landslides, and large distances.
Historic Marrakech badly damaged
The earthquake, which was felt as far away as Algeria and Portugal, also shook historic Marrakech, the nearest major city to the epicentre. Homes and other buildings in the UNESCO World Heritage Site have collapsed.
Aftershocks have left families too frightened to seek shelter, with exhausted survivors forced to sleep in the streets.
Occurring just 11 miles beneath the surface, the shallow earthquake was magnitude 6.8, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).