Morocco’s biggest earthquake in at least 120 years devastated an area just south of the historic city of Marrakesh, leaving behind wrenching images of toppled buildings, with entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble, and leaving a rapidly growing death toll. (Related: Updated report on Morocco’s earthquake).
The 6.8 Magnitude earthquake, which struck roughly 70 miles south of Marrakesh in the country’s High Atlas Mountains, was the strongest to hit the region since 1900, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which described the area as one where major earthquakes are “uncommon” but not “unexpected.”
Photos and videos show buildings collapsed as rescue workers scour through piles of rubble, which hit an area where in some cases ancient buildings are “simply not constructed robustly enough” to handle a major quake, University College London geophysics professor emeritus Bill McGuire told the Associated Press.
Officials in Morocco confirmed more than 1,300 people had been killed in the earthquake, with another 1,800 injured, including 1,220 in critical condition.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI ordered the country’s military on Saturday to mobilize specialized search teams, including a field hospital as the rescue mission continues, while world leaders have announced plans to provide assistance—President Joe Biden on Saturday said his administration is “ready to provide any necessary assistance” to Morocco.