On September 8, a devastating 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Morocco shortly after 11:00 p.m. local time.
He earthquake depth It was 11.5 miles away and the epicenter was 44 miles southwest of Marrakech (French: Marrakech) near the town of Adassil, in the High Atlas Mountains, Al Haouz province. There are many small, picturesque towns in the mountains, several of which have been devastated.
Marrakesh, a historic and popular tourist destination, was the most affected large city, with a population of 840,000 people. The earthquake was felt in several other Moroccan cities, including Casablanca, Agadir, Essaouira and Rabat. It was also felt in Algeria and Portugal.
While 380,000 people were severely affected due to their proximity (less than 30 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter), the total number of people affected has increased dramatically. At least 500,000 people They have been displaced.
LeMonde Reports“In the provinces of Al-Haouz and Taroudant, which account for 90% of the deaths and injuries, one million people are directly affected by the earthquake.”
According Data friendly space, “Discrepancies between government and international estimates indicate that between 380,000 and 2.8 million people were affected, with the broader area home to 6.6 million residents.”
Although Marrakech and Taroudant have higher levels of relative wealth, according to Ready for the crisis, The earthquake “occurred in a predominantly rural and mountainous area with low levels of relative wealth, particularly near the epicenter.” These mountain villages are very remote and difficult to reach with help and resources.
While Moroccan officials and partners worked to clear roads, this took some time due to the extent of the damage, limiting the response to remote areas. Many areas can still only be accessed by donkey or motorcycle.
This earthquake was the strongest to hit Morocco in at least 120 years. Hundreds of aftershocks have been recorded, the largest being a magnitude 5.9 earthquake. Aftershocks are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Data Friendly Space reports that 59,000 homes were damaged and 19,000 were destroyed.
Tremors They are among the most devastating natural hazards. .
According to the United Nations Satellite Center (UNOSAT), 5 million people felt the earthquake in the provinces of Marrakech-Safi, Drâa-Tafilalet and SoussMassa. UNOSAT said that they had observed damaged and destroyed structures in “several villages in the Atlas Mountains around Adassil (Chichaoua province).”
The earthquake occurred on the African Plate, which the New York Times It says it is “about 340 miles south of the African-Eurasian plate boundary, which is seismically active.” Earthquakes in the intersection of these plates They tend to occur at relatively shallow depths, which can make them more dangerous.
While natural hazards, such as earthquakes, are inevitable, its impact on society is not. An earthquake in 1960 in the city of Agadir killed more than 12,000 people and led to improved building codes. However, rural houses do not always follow these guidelines.
Funders can help minimize the impact of future disasters advocating for safe building construction, supporting risk communication campaigns, investing for the long term to ensure a full recovery incorporating risk reduction, and strengthening preparedness and resilience.