Photo Credit: Wikimedia / alyaoum24
Aftermath of earthquake near Marrakesh in Taroudant Province, Morocco, 2023

The death toll in Morocco rose to 1,300 late Saturday night with more than 1,200 were injured, including 721 critically after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake rocked the area southwest of Marrakesh at 11:11 pm Friday night local time.


The epicenter of the quake was located 44 miles southwest of Marrakesh at a depth of 11.5 miles, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

More than 300,000 people in Marrakesh and its outskirts have been affected by the powerful earthquake, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Local sources said the ancient Jewish Quarter in the historic Old City of Marrakesh, which appears on the UNESCO list and is a significant source of tourism income for the country, was destroyed in the temblor. About seven percent of Morocco’s national economy is drawn from tourism to the Old City of Marrakesh.

The quake was felt in Casablanca, Essaouira and in the capital city of Rabat. As of Saturday night, the death toll had reached 1,037.

The Royal Palace announced three days of national mourning on Saturday following the tragedy.

“Three days of national mourning have been decided, with flags to fly at half-mast on all public buildings,” said a statement published by the official MAP news agency after King Mohamed VI chaired a meeting to discuss the disaster.

Hundreds of Israelis in Morocco
A delegation from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is scheduled to travel to Morocco on Sunday to reinforce the Israeli Embassy in Rabat. The delegation, which includes representatives from the consular wing and its administration, aims to help Israelis return home following the earthquake.

“As of this time, there are 479 Israeli citizens in Morocco, including 17 with whom we have lost contact,” the ministry said in an update at 11:20 pm Saturday night.

Following the earthquake, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed “all government bodies and forces to provide any necessary assistance to the people of Morocco, including preparations for sending an aid delegation to the area,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Saturday night. “The people of Israel stand with our friends, the people of Morocco, during this difficult hour and pray for their well-being, and that we will help in any way needed,” Netanyahu said.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke with his Moroccan counterpart, Minister Delegate in Charge of National Defense Abdellatif Loudiyi following the temblor.

“A significant part of the Abraham Accords is our commitment to stand by our partners during difficult times. The State of Israel is prepared to assist the Kingdom of Morocco,” Gallant said. The minister expressed his sincere condolences to His Majesty King Mohammed VI and the entire Moroccan Kingdom, for the lives lost during the tragic event.

Gallant also reiterated his commitment to provide assistance and instructed the IDF and defense establishment to prepare for the provision of humanitarian aid and search and rescue efforts, should they be required.

In addition, the United States offered its assistance to Morocco as well, following the death temblor.

“I express my deep sadness at the loss of life and destruction caused by yesterday’s earthquake in Morocco and extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of those affected,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “The United States is ready to provide any necessary assistance as Morocco responds to this tragedy.”

Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross-Red Crescent and Qatar have also offered their assistance.

This is a developing story.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.