September 9, 2023 Earthquake hits Morocco

By Chris Lau, Seán Federico O'Murchú, Andrew Raine, Adrienne Vogt and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 12:08 AM ET, Sun September 10, 2023
51 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
12:02 a.m. ET, September 10, 2023

Our live coverage of the deadly earthquake in Morocco has moved here.

8:55 p.m. ET, September 9, 2023

In Marrakech, hundreds spend night outside amid fears of further tremors

From CNN's Ivana Kottasova in Marrakech

People rest outside in central Marrakech, Morocco, on Saturday.
People rest outside in central Marrakech, Morocco, on Saturday. Hannah McKay/Reuters

It’s a warm night in Marrakech and many people have decided to spend the night outside, afraid to sleep in their homes in case there are any further tremors.

People are staying away from the buildings in the historical part of the town as some of them have been damaged and there is a fear they could collapse.

In the Oliveraie Park in central Marrakech, hundreds of people are spending the night lying on blankets and makeshift mattresses.

Whole families are huddled together, trying to get some rest after a night on Friday.

Outside are children, the elderly, and other people bringing supplies and bags with clothes and food, preparing for what may become a long stay away from their homes.

Flags around the city are flying at half-staff to mark three days of national mourning.

Flights in and out of Marrakech, a major hub, have been operating mostly as normal, although the airport was quite busy overnight into Sunday, with dozens of tourists spending the night sleeping on the floor in the main terminal.

8:37 p.m. ET, September 9, 2023

Germany sends Morocco condolences, Austria offers aid

From CNN’s Inke Kappeler

German leaders have conveyed their condolences to Morocco following the deadly earthquake that hit the country on Friday evening.

The death toll from the powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake has now surpassed 2,000, making it the deadliest quake to hit the North African country in decades.

"This is terrible news from Morocco," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday.
"In these difficult hours, our thoughts are with the victims of the devastating earthquake. Our sympathy goes to all those affected by this natural disaster."

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier released a statement on Saturday, sending "heartfelt condolences for lives lost."

"I am deeply shocked by the news of the devastating earthquake in Morocco. I wish much strength in the rescue work and the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and buildings," he said.

"Also on behalf of my compatriots, I send you my heartfelt condolences for the lives lost in the disaster and best wishes for the recovery of those injured. Our thoughts are with the families of the dead and injured."

Global leaders including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, China's Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have also offered their condolences.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer offered assistance and aid, saying that the government was gearing up to send a disaster relief unit "as soon as a corresponding request comes.

"We stand by the people of Morocco in this difficult situation," Nehammer said.

Israel and the UAE have also expressed their readiness to assist.

5:46 p.m. ET, September 9, 2023

More than 2,000 dead in Morocco earthquake

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan

At least 2,012 people died and another 2,059 were injured in the earthquake that struck Morocco Friday night, according to the latest figures released by the country's interior ministry, state-run broadcaster 2M reports. 

At least 1,404 of those hurt by the quake are in critical condition, the ministry said.

5:50 p.m. ET, September 9, 2023

Death toll continues to climb as Morocco reels from earthquake. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

As night falls in Morocco, those who've had their homes destroyed by the deadly 6.8-magnitude earthquake may find themselves again sleeping on the streets. Search and rescue teams are trying to reach those affected near the mountainous epicenter, and experts warn the number of dead may continue to rise.

These are the latest developments:

Death toll climbs: At least 2,000 people have died and another 2,000 are hurt due to the quake, according to state broadcaster Al Aoula, which cited the interior ministry. Morocco will observe three days of mourning following the disaster, the Royal Palace said Saturday.

Eyewitnesses near the High Atlas mountains say there is "destruction everywhere." It was the strongest quake to hit within 500 kilometers (about 310 miles) of the area in more than a century, according to the US Geological Survey.

Uncertainty looms: CNN's Benjamin Brown, who was in Marrakech at the time of the earthquake, observed many of the city’s parks, plazas and parking lots transformed into impromptu campsites amid destruction and fear of aftershocks.

Injured people from closer to the epicenter were brought to city hospitals, with medics performing open-air triage with many patients.

History destroyed: Marrakech’s Medina and city walls, adored by tourists, were hit particularly heavily, their century-old structures unable to withstand the violent shake.

The Tinmal Mosque in the High Atlas mountains, a prime example of Almohad architecture, was also severely damaged.

Moroccan response: Morocco's King Mohammed VI issued instructions to set up a commission for relief services, which will provide care, housing and foods for those affected.

Global aid and reactions: Leaders from around the world — including US President Joe Biden, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, France's Emanuel Macron, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — have extended their condolences to Morocco. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the G20 summit in New Delhi on Saturday with "heartfelt condolences" to everyone affected by the quake.

France activated a fund that allows all local governments throughout the country, regardless of their size, to make financial contributions for emergency humanitarian operations abroad.

Israel's emergency services has geared up to mobilize in Morocco, the United Arab Emirates will establish an "air bridge" to deliver supplies, and Algeria reopened its airspace for humanitarian aid and medical flights despite having previously cut off diplomatic relations with Morocco.

Turkey says it is ready to send 265 personnel and 1,000 tents to Morocco to support aid efforts following the deadly earthquake, according to AFAD, Turkey’s Emergency Management Authority. 

5:19 p.m. ET, September 9, 2023

Moroccan national team donates blood to aid victims of deadly earthquake

From CNN's Patrick Snell

Members of the Moroccan national soccer team donated blood on Saturday in support for the victims of the deadly earthquake that hit the nation. 

The Atlas Lions were scheduled to play Liberia in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match on Saturday, but it was postponed due to the powerful quake.

Morocco's magical run in the 2022 FIFA World Cup broke records and inspired praise across the world.

Elsewhere in the soccer world: La Liga's first and second division will hold a minute's moment of silence in solidarity with the victims and families of the earthquake in Morocco, Spain's top-flight soccer league announced Saturday. 

Meanwhile, two of La Liga's biggest clubs — Real Madrid and Barcelona — released statements in support of the earthquake victims. 

"Real Madrid C.F., its president and Board of Directors express their deepest concern and solidarity with the victims of the earthquake in Morocco in recent hours," the club said in a statement

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Barcelona wrote, "We send our strength and solidarity to the victims of the earthquake that affected Morocco."

3:57 p.m. ET, September 9, 2023

French national dies in Morocco quake, foreign ministry tells public broadcaster

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan

At least one French man died and eight other French nationals were injured in the earthquake that struck Morocco Friday night, the French foreign ministry said Saturday, according to public broadcaster France Televisions.

The man who died was in the Moroccan coastal city of Agadir, west of the epicenter of the 6.8-magnitude quake, according to the ministry.

3:55 p.m. ET, September 9, 2023

Morocco quake death toll rises to over 1,300

From CNN’s Eyad Kourdi and Pierre Meilhan

A house is seen damaged in the village of Tansghart on Saturday.
A house is seen damaged in the village of Tansghart on Saturday. Abdelhak Balhaki/Reuters

At least 1,305 people have been killed in the 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Morocco, state-run broadcaster Al Aoula said Saturday.

The number of injured has reached 1,832, including 1,220 who are in critical condition, according to Al Aoula, which cited the interior ministry.

2:50 p.m. ET, September 9, 2023

Morocco's King Mohammed VI oversees meeting on rescue and relief efforts

From CNN’s Eyad Kourdi and Pierre Meilhan

Morocco's King Mohammed VI has been briefed about the destruction from the country's devastating earthquake and has given orders to set up a commission to provide relief, the Royal Palace said Saturday.

The king presided over a working meeting where government officials told him about the damage and loss of life in the provinces that have been impacted by the quake, including locations that were not accessible for hours, according to the palace statement published by state-run broadcaster 2M. 

Emergency measures taken so far include ramping up search and rescue operations; supplying drinking water; and distributing food kits, tents and blankets, officials told the king.

The king also issued instructions to “immediately set up an inter-ministerial commission responsible for deploying a relief program, emergency rehabilitation and assistance in the reconstruction of destroyed housing in disaster areas, as soon as possible.”

The commission will be responsible for “caring for people in distress, particularly orphans and vulnerable people” and providing “immediate care for all people who find themselves homeless due to the earthquake, particularly in terms of accommodation, food and all other basic needs,” according to the palace.