Morocco earthquake death toll rises to nearly 2,500

Local rescue teams continue to search for missing people trapped under the rubble


Moroccan interior ministry has said that the death toll in the deadly earthquake that measured 6.8 on the Richter scale has gone up to 2,497. The death toll as of September 10 was 2,000. 

The North African country was struck by the earthquake at 11 pm local time; the epicentre was about 75 km southeast of Marrakech and had a depth of 18.5 kilometres. Sustainable destruction was reported in Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Even as several foreign teams arrive in the country, local rescue teams continue to search for missing people trapped under the rubble. The country has so far accepted offers of assistance from Spain, the UK, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. 

The government has opened a special account, that will receive donations for quake victims with the treasury and the Bank of Morocco. According to Morocco's National Geophysical Institute, the quake was the strongest to hit the North African country in the last century.

About 300,000 people have been affected by the quake. Most of the destruction and deaths were in Al Haouz province in the High Atlas Mountains-- steep, winding roads became clogged with rubble, AFP reported.

Army units were deployed on Monday along roads leading from Amizmiz to help clear routes, while, tourists and residents are lining up to donate blood. The last time an earthquake of similar proportions hit Morocco was one measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale hitting Agadir in 1960. It killed at least 12,000 people. 

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