Marrakech Minaret Disaster Shakes UNESCO World Heritage Site!

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A devastating earthquake has struck Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, resulting in the tragic loss of hundreds of lives as buildings crumbled and terrified residents fled their homes in several cities and towns.

In Marrakech, the nearest major city to the epicenter, reports emerged of building collapses in the historic old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Initial information indicated that a portion of a towering minaret in Jemaa el-Fnaa, a bustling market square and popular tourist destination, had also fallen, injuring two individuals. This prompted local residents to seek refuge in the open space of the square.

Images broadcast on local television depicted scenes of rubble and shattered pipes crushing parked cars, obstructing streets across Marrakech. Panic-stricken residents spilled into the streets immediately after the earthquake, which struck at 11.11 pm on a Friday night. State TV captured people wrapped in blankets, forced to sleep outdoors due to fears of further aftershocks. You may also read Game-Changing Fossil Fuel Protest.

Fayssal Badour, a resident of Marrakech, described his experience, saying, “I was returning home when the earthquake struck. My car rocked back and forth, but I didn’t imagine for a single second this meant there was an earthquake happening. I stopped and I realized the catastrophe… it felt like we were on a river that suddenly burst its banks. The cries and the shouts were unbearable.”

By Saturday morning, Moroccan TV reports had raised the death toll to 632, with 329 individuals injured, according to the interior ministry. Earlier reports from the ministry had already indicated hundreds of casualties in the regions surrounding the earthquake’s epicenter. It was noted that most of the damage occurred outside urban areas, particularly in the mountainous regions that were challenging to access.

Hamid Afkir, a teacher in a mountainous area west of the epicenter near Taroudant, recounted his experience, saying, “The earth shook for about 20 seconds. Doors opened and shut by themselves as I rushed downstairs from the second floor.” He also mentioned the presence of aftershocks.

The Moroccan geophysical center reported that the earthquake struck in the Ighil area with a magnitude of 7.2, while the US Geological Survey estimated it at 6.8, at a relatively shallow depth of 11.5 miles (18.5 km).

In Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its historical significance, several buildings have collapsed, and significant cracks have appeared in a section of the medieval city’s walls.

Local television broadcasts depicted the fallen minaret of a mosque, with debris strewn across damaged cars. Panicked individuals were seen fleeing shopping centers and restaurants. You should also check Danny Masterson, ‘That ’70s Show’.

Efforts are underway to clear roads to enable ambulances and aid to reach the affected areas. However, the challenging terrain and considerable distances between mountain villages are posing significant challenges, making it difficult to ascertain the full extent of the damage.

Local media reports suggest that roads leading to the mountainous region are congested with vehicles and obstructed by fallen rocks, further hindering rescue operations.

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