What is happening in Morocco?
Late on Friday night (September 8), a devastating earthquake struck Morocco. It registered as a magnitude 6.8 tremor, and was followed by approximately 25 aftershocks, which could continue for months.
One seismological expert, Remy Mossu, who spoke to Sky News, said ‘there will be aftershocks. It is not a probability, it is a certainty.’
It’s the deadliest earthquake to hit the country in over 60 years, and the largest in the region since 1900. The last notable earthquake hit Morocco in 2004, however an earthquake of this size is unusual for the country.
Plates which carry Europe and Africa are what have caused this earthquake, but most tectonic activity on this boundary occurs further east in the Mediterranean, towards Turkey, which experienced a severe earthquake earlier this year.
Where did the earthquake hit in Morocco?
The epicentre of the earthquake was located around 70 km southwest of Marrakech, in the High Atlas Mountains, and is estimated to have been 18.5 km deep into the ground, according to the US Geological Survey.
Marrakech, the fourth-largest Moroccan city and by far the most popular with travellers, has been severely hit. However, the outlying remote villages have been struck the hardest.
The death toll of the earthquake continues to rise, estimated to be at around 2,900, plus 5,500 injured or missing, as of Wednesday September 13.
In the village of Tafeghaghte, 90 percent of the 200 residents are confirmed to have died. Amiziz was another village that was particularly badly hit, where lots of houses crumbled.
How can I help earthquake victims in Morocco?
The main concern for authorities and those supplying aid is getting to remote villages as soon as possible, but their inaccessibility poses a great risk to the safety of those waiting for help. Roads into the Atlas Mountains were already difficult to navigate, but are now in considerably worse condition.
The best way to help is by donating to a charity doing this vital work on the ground. Here is a list of some charities that have announced appeal efforts so far.
Islamic Relief have created a Morocco Earthquake Emergency Appeal, to provide emergency water, purchase essentials, and help those who have lost their homes find shelter.
Global Giving has also set up a Relief Fund, which you can donate to here. Their website reads that ‘your donation to this fund will help meet [Moroccan people’s] emergency needs and provide locally-led, long-term support.’
Care is apparently coordinating closely with the Moroccan authorities to respond to the needs of people affected.
The British Red Cross have launched an appeal too, and their website says they will continually update readers on information and how best to provide help.
Doctors Without Borders is planning on supplying humanitarian teams to Morocco to provide support, despite their lack of ‘an established presence.’
The Disaster Response Emergency Fund is one of the quickest routes funding reaches those affected, and they also channel funding through the Red Cross.
Human Appeal is another charity asking for donations, and has been operating on the ground since the earthquake struck.
Oxfam is collecting donations, and says it is reaching out to partners on the ground to help support them.
GiveDirectly is a charity whose proceeds are given directly to victims of the earthquake, meaning the choice is in their hands, and they can spend it on what they need most.
Are there any travel implications for tourists?
Travelling to Morocco has not been advised against by the UK Foreign Office, so travellers are encouraged to contact their travel providers for more information. Here is our explainer with detailed travel advice for Morocco.
Though Marrakech and the rest of the region will take a lot of time to recover, it’s likely the local economies will need our support more than ever. For use in the future, here is our essential guide to Marrakech.
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