Rescuers are racing against time to find survivors in the remote areas hit hardest by Morocco’s deadliest earthquake in more than six decades, with the death toll climbing to more than 2,800 people.
Search teams from Spain, the United Kingdom, and Qatar have joined Moroccan rescue efforts after the magnitude 6.8 quake struck late on Friday in the High Atlas Mountains, with the epicenter 72 kilometers southwest of Marrakesh.
The death toll has risen to 2,862, with 2,562 people injured. Rescuers said the traditional mud-brick houses ubiquitous in the region reduced the chances of finding survivors because they had crumbled.
Despite the scale of the damage, he said rescuers searching with dogs still hoped to find survivors.
After an initial response that was described as too slow by some survivors, search and rescue efforts appeared to be speeding up on Monday, with tent camps appearing in some locations where people were preparing for a fourth night outdoors. With much of the quake zone in hard-to-reach areas, the authorities have not issued any estimates for the number of people missing.
The harm done to Morocco’s cultural heritage has been emerging gradually. Buildings in Marrakesh’s old city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were damaged. The quake also caused significant damage to the historically significant 12th-century Tinmel Mosque.
Residents in Tinmel, a remote village closer to the epicenter where 15 people were killed, said they had been sharing food, water, and medicine but desperately needed tents and blankets to shelter from the cold mountain nights.
Initial reports indicate that approximately 100,000 children have been affected by the earthquake.
While the United Nations Children’s Agency does not yet know the exact number of children killed and injured, the latest estimates from 2022 indicate that children represent almost a third of Morocco’s population.
It was the North African country’s deadliest earthquake since 1960, when a tremor was estimated to have killed at least 12,000 people, and the most powerful since at least 1900, according to the United States Geological Survey. The army said it was reinforcing search-and-rescue teams, providing drinking water, and distributing food, tents, and blankets.
King Mohammed VI has not addressed the nation since the disaster.
Morocco has accepted offers of aid from Spain and the UK, which both sent search-and-rescue specialists with sniffer dogs, and from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, which said on Sunday a search-and-rescue team was on its way.
Meanwhile, an outpouring of online and real-world support has pushed historical tensions between Algeria and Morocco aside as the government and civil society offer to join global solidarity efforts.

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