A powerful earthquake struck Morocco on Friday night, killing more than 2,100 people and setting off frantic rescue efforts in rubble-strewn city streets and remote rural areas, as some residents sifted through mountains of debris with their bare hands, the Times reports.
The next days are critical: After four or five days, the possibility of survival dwindles.
The quake, which had a magnitude of 6.8 and was centered about 50 miles from the southern city of Marrakesh, was the strongest to hit the area in a century, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
It shook not only Marrakesh but also Agadir, a resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, and Ouarzazate, a major city in the southeast.
The extent of the damage and the number of casualties remain unclear: The hardest-hit communities were in the High Atlas Mountains, where debris blocked access to the few roads, and where phone service and electricity were knocked out. A 3.9-magnitude earthquake, almost certainly an aftershock, struck the area just before 9 a.m. yesterday.