Turkey pledges aid and support to Morocco after devastating earthquake
Following a massive 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck central Morocco, claiming at least 820 lives and causing extensive damage, Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz took to social media to convey a heartfelt message of condolences to the Moroccan people.
"I send my condolences to all the Moroccan people affected by the earthquake disaster in Morocco. I wish God's mercy on those who lost their lives and a speedy recovery to the injured. Turkey is ready to provide all kinds of assistance to heal the wounds," Yilmaz wrote, the Anadolu News Agency reports.
The quake's epicenter was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71 km southwest of the iconic city of Marrakech. It was soon followed by a strong aftershock measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale. Many remote areas reported fatalities, with the country's Interior Ministry confirming deaths in Marrakech and other southern regions, including el-Hauz, Marrakech, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant. More than 600 people were injured.
According to the BBC, there were reports of families trapped under rubble in the city and significant damage to parts of the medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Historic landmarks such as the Qutubiya Mosque in Marrakech were also affected.
In response to the disaster, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) announced the readiness of 265 personnel from various organizations, including the Ministry of Health's UMKE and the Turkish Red Crescent, to assist if called upon by Moroccan authorities. "We are also waiting for a call from the Moroccan authorities to deliver 1,000 tents to the region," said an official release from AFAD.
Residents recounted the moment's horror, with many describing extreme panic and desperation. Marrakech resident Faissal Badour recalled, "The screaming and crying was unbearable.
Simple structures in remote mountain villages near the epicenter may have suffered the most, and their isolated locations may delay a full assessment of casualties.
Reactions from the global community poured in, with leaders such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, and French President Emmanuel Macron expressing their commitment to help Morocco at this terrible time.