Northern Morocco earthquake: More than 560 people killed
A powerful earthquake in northern Morocco on Tuesday killing more than 560 people as they slept, injuring hundreds more and laying ruin to villages.
Rescuers with sniffer dogs were searching for survivors trapped under the rubble of their fragile mud-and-stone homes, which crumbled easily in the 6.5-magnitude temblor. Victims were most likely women, children and the elderly because men in the region tend to emigrate to the Netherlands and Germany in search of work, said Mohammed Ziane, a former human rights minister.
The quake, which rattled apartment buildings as far away as southern Spain, destroyed rural communities near the coastal city of Al Hoceima.
The official MAP news agency said late Tuesday at least 564 people were dead and 300 injured. Of those, 80 people were hospitalized, the agency said. Officials earlier had put the injury toll at 600.
According to The AP, Rescuers reported difficulties getting to the stricken area in mountain foothills and served by narrow, poor roads. As they arrived, they found corpses; some families already had buried their dead.
More than 200 relief workers from the Moroccan Red Crescent were at the scene, along with helicopters filled with emergency supplies.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)