MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) – A magnitude 3.9 aftershock rattled Moroccans on Sunday as they prayed for victims of the nation’s strongest earthquake in more than a century and worked to rescue survivors while soldiers and workers brought water and supplies to mountain villages in ruins. More than 2,000 people are dead – a number that is expected to rise.
The United Nations estimated that 300,000 people were affected by Friday night’s magnitude 6.8 quake and some Moroccans complained on social networks that the government wasn’t allowing more help from outside. International aid crews were prepared to deploy, but remained in limbo waiting for the Morocco government to request their assistance.
“We know there is a great urgency to save people and dig under the remains of buildings,” said Arnaud Fraisse, founder of Rescuers Without Borders, who had a team stuck in Paris waiting for the green light. “There are people dying under the rubble, and we cannot do anything to save them.”
Those left homeless – or fearing more aftershocks – from Friday night’s earthquake slept outside Saturday, in the streets of the ancient city of Marrakech or under makeshift canopies in Atlas Mountain towns like Moulay Brahim, among the hardest-hit. The worst destruction was in small, rural communities that are hard for rescuers to reach because of the mountainous terrain.
A resident walks past building rubble in Mzouda village in Morocco’s Chichaoua province following a devastating earthquake on September 10, 2023. (Photo by Fethi Belaid / AFP) (Photo by FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images)
Those same areas were shaken anew Sunday by a magnitude 3.9 quake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It wasn’t immediately clear if the temblor caused more damage or casualties, but it was likely strong enough to rattle nerves in areas where damage has left buildings unstable and people have spoken of their fears of aftershocks.
The earthquake on Friday toppled buildings not built to withstand such a mighty quake, trapping people in the rubble and sending others fleeing in terror. A total of 2,012 people were confirmed dead and at least 2,059 more people were injured – 1,404 of them critically – Morocco’s Interior Ministry reported Saturday night.
“We felt a huge shake like it was doomsday,” Moulay Brahim resident Ayoub Toudite said. “Ten seconds and everything was gone.”
MOULAY BRAHIM, MOROCCO – SEPTEMBER 10: A man walks amongst the rubble of collapsed buildings following yesterday’s earthquake, on September 10, 2023 in Moulay Brahim, Morocco. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
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