Morocco quake death toll exceeds 2,500

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According to state-run media, at least 2,681 people were killed and 2,501 were injured in the Moroccan earthquake as of Monday. Three days of national mourning have been announced by King Mohammed VI.

On Monday morning, the Casablanca-based 2M TV channel reported an updated dead toll as rescue personnel sifted through the rubble in the highlands south of Marrakesh.

The 6.8 magnitude quake occurred on Friday evening at a depth of 26 kilometers beneath the Atlas Mountains. Around 1,500 people were killed in the Al-Haouz province. According to survivors who communicated with rescuers and the media, some villages were “completely destroyed.” 15 people were killed among the 200 residents of Azgour, a community near the epicenter.

Morocco has dispatched the military to help civilian rescue crews, but roads and passes through the mountains have been damaged or blocked by debris. Heavy machinery has been deployed to clear the roads and helicopters are trying to reach the most remote settlements.

On Monday morning, a Moroccan army relief convoy arrived in Asni, the town closest to the epicenter, and began establishing a field hospital to treat the injured. Colonel Youssef Qamouss told CNN that the hospital had 30 beds in 16 tents and a staff of 24 doctors and 48 nurses. He went on to say that the most common injuries include burns, fractures, and wounds.

The earthquake on Friday was the deadliest to hit Morocco since 1960, when a 5.8 magnitude tremor in Agadir killed at least 12,000 people.