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Earthquake Aftershocks: Which areas are most affected in Morocco

Morocco recently experienced one of the most devastating earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.8. Although the quake’s epicenter was situated in the High Atlas Mountains of Al Haouz Province, even Marrakesh, Casablanca, Agadir, Essaouira and Rabat experienced the tremors

Morocco Earthquake leaves buildings into rumbles.

On the fateful night of September 8, Morocco experienced a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8, leading to massive destruction of property and life. The quake's epicenter was situated in the High Atlas Mountains of Al Haouz province, approximately 44 miles southwest of the historic city of Marrakesh, a popular tourist destination.

While Marrakesh felt the brunt of the seismic event, several other Moroccan cities, including Casablanca, Agadir, Essaouira, and Rabat, also experienced the tremors, affecting at least 300,000 people.

The earthquake, with a depth of 11.5 miles, was the most powerful to hit Morocco in over a century. Its impact was largely seen in the tiny villages nestled in the mountainous terrain around the epicenter. These remote communities, characterized by their isolation and being poverty-driven, have faced significant challenges in the aftermath of the disaster.

The earthquake's rural and mountainous epicenter has also strained local resources and infrastructure. Telecommunications outages have severed the villages from the outside world, making it difficult to provide essential aid and support to those in need.

Aftershocks continue to disrupt villages

Aftershocks of the earthquake continue to disrupt the region, with the most powerful reaching a magnitude of 5.9. Experts anticipate that these aftershocks will persist in the foreseeable future, further complicating recovery efforts.

Morocco's seismic activity is primarily associated with the African Plate, situated about 340 miles south of the African-Eurasian plate boundary. However, earthquakes in this region tend to occur at relatively shallow depths. Earthquakes at shallow depths largely have more potential for significant damage than deeper earthquakes.

In addition to the high magnitude, the lack of preparedness has led to massive disruption, leading to many lives being lost. A similar effect was seen in 1960 earthquake in Agadir, which claimed over 12,000 lives. This incident had led to implementation of enhanced building codes to mitigate future risks. However, even decades later, building norms seem to have remained the same leading to furthermore impact than expected.  

After the earthquake, experts suggest that Morocco needs to take important steps towards advocating for safe building construction, supporting risk communication campaigns, investing in long-term recovery efforts that incorporate risk reduction strategies, and strengthening overall preparedness and resilience within communities.