State-run Al-Awla TV showed on Saturday that several buildings had collapsed near the epicenter.
A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Morocco on Friday night, killing nearly 300 people and forcing many residents to spend the night on the streets, in what the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said was the strongest tremor to hit that part of North Africa. country for more than a century.
The USGS said the quake, which struck at a relatively shallow depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.4 miles) in Morocco’s High Atlas mountain range after 11 p.m. local time, was centered some 72 kilometers (44.7 miles) southwest of the city of Marrakesh. 840,000 people and is a popular tourist destination.
At least 296 people were killed and 153 wounded, Moroccan state-run Al-Awla TV reported on Saturday.
The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces warned that residents could still suffer aftershocks.
“We remind you of the need to act with caution because of the risk of repercussions,” wrote the military on X, later known as Twitter.
Friday night’s earthquake was unusually strong for the region, the USGS said.
“An earthquake of this magnitude in this region is unusual, but not unexpected. Since 1900, no M6 (magnitude 6) and larger earthquakes have occurred within 500 km of this earthquake, and only 9 M5 (magnitude 5) and larger earthquakes have occurred,” the USGS reported. .
“Significant damage is likely and devastation is widespread,” the US agency predicted. Many people live in “highly earthquake-prone” buildings.
State-run Al-Awla TV on Saturday showed several buildings collapsed near the epicenter and reported that thousands of people had fled their homes after the country’s National Geophysical Agency warned of aftershocks.
In Marrakesh, some houses collapsed in the tightly packed old city and people were moving debris by hand as they waited for heavy equipment, local resident Id Wajis Hassan told Reuters news agency.
Another Marrakesh resident, Brahim Himmi, told Reuters he saw ambulances coming from the old city and saw several building facades damaged. He said people are scared and staying outside in case of another earthquake.
Tremors were also felt in the capital Rabat, about 350 km north of the High Atlas mountains, Reuters reported, citing witnesses.
This is a growing story. A lot more to come. Reuters contributed to this report.