A powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.8 has struck central Morocco,

killing at least 1,000 people and causing severe damage in several areas.

09 SEP 2023


The quake struck at 23:11 local time (22:11 GMT) on Friday,

and was felt in several areas of the country, including Casablanca and Marrakesh.

The epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh.

Many buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged in Marrakesh, including the historic Kutubiyya mosque and the Jemaa el Fnaa mosque.

The Moroccan government has declared three days of national mourning.

The armed forces have been deployed to provide affected areas with clean drinking water, food supplies, tents and blankets.

Rescue efforts are under way, but many people are still believed to be under the rubble.

The quake was also felt in neighbouring Algeria, but officials said it had not caused any damage or casualties.

The international community has offered its condolences and assistance to Morocco.

The earthquake is a major tragedy for Morocco, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families. I hope that the rescue efforts will be successful and that the injured will make a full recovery.