The United States Geological Survey on late Friday evening (September 8) reported a strong earthquake of magnitude 6.8 has struck central Morocco.
The initial death toll of 296 as announced by the country’s interior ministry had since doubled hitting 632 according to multiple sources.
The injury toll initially put at 150 has also shot up.
The epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh, at a depth of 18.5km, the US Geological Survey said.
The quake struck at 23:11 local time (22:11 GMT). There was a 4.9 aftershock 19 minutes later.
People died in Marrakesh and several areas to the south, the ministry said.
“According to a provisional report, the earthquake killed 296 people in the provinces and municipalities of al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant,” the initial statement said, adding that 153 people were injured and hospitalised.
Popular video trends but turns out to be fake
Unverified video clips on X (formerly Twitter) show damaged buildings, other buildings shaking and rubble-strewn streets. People are seen fleeing in alarm and some walking through clouds of dust.
Some buildings in Marrakesh’s old city have collapsed, one resident told the Reuters news agency. Several clips on X show buildings crashing down, but the BBC has not identified where they were.
One particular video showed the moment a story building collapsed to the ground as people scampered to safety.
GhanaWeb checks have, however, shown that the video is an old one that is been circulated.
Our position is buttressed by the World Times news outlet which posted the video on Twitter with a clarification:
“Just verified this video to be fake and not from tonight’s Morocco earthquake, thanks for reporting. The video was recorded 3 years ago in Casablanca.”