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A powerful earthquake shook Morocco on Friday evening, damaging buildings in major cities and sending panicked residents and tourists streaming into the streets and alleys.

The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces estimated that 100 people were killed, with the highest number of deaths expected in Al Haouz province, south of Marrakech.

Videos posted online show buildings turned to rubble and dust and parts of the famous red walls that surround Marrakech’s historic old town have been damaged.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 when it struck around 11 p.m. local time, with shaking that lasted several seconds. Morocco’s National Seismic Monitoring and Warning Network measured it at 7 on the Richter scale. The US agency reported a 4.9 magnitude aftershock 19 minutes later.

Variations in early readings are common, although either reading would be the strongest recorded in Morocco in years. Although earthquakes are relatively rare in North Africa, a 5.8 magnitude tremor struck near Agadir and caused thousands of deaths in 1960.

The epicenter of Friday’s quake was in the Atlas Mountains, about 70 km south of Marrakech. It was also close to Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, and Oukaimeden, a popular Moroccan ski resort.

telegraph Uk

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Source : clintonco