A strong earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale has shaken the Marrakech region. The victims – as reported by the Minister of the Interior – are 296 and over 150 injured. The seismographs recorded the tremor at 11.11pm on Friday 8 September. The epicenter identified at the foot of the Atlas, in the province of Al Haouz, probably in the center of Ighil, at a depth of 8 kilometers, just over 70 kilometers from Marrakech. However, the shock was felt along the entire ridge of the Atlas, in Merzouga, one of the gateways to the desert, Taroudant, Essaouira and Agadir and on the other side of the mountain range in Casablanca, up to Rabat. The undulating movement lasted about 30 seconds, but it seemed like much longer.
Fear especially in the medina of Marrakech, where the most fragile parts of the walls surrounding the historic center have collapsed. Some homes have collapsed, in Jamaa el Fna square the minaret of a small mosque near the historic ‘Café de France’ collapsed. Damage was reported in the kasbah of Marrakech and house collapses in the north-east area. In the new city there are cracks in the bell tower of the Catholic church of Gueliz. Collapses of facades in Essaouira, on the Atlantic Ocean and in Ouarzazate, in the central South. Thousands poured into the streets of the new city of Marrakech and the alleys of the medina, in panic. Electricity and internet connection were missing for a long time. The switchboard of the Italian embassy in Rabat has received numerous calls, especially from tourists asking to return home. The airports are currently closed and will reopen on Saturday morning.