A deadly earthquake struck Morocco’s High Atlas highlands late Friday, killing at least 296 people. The tremor also caused massive building destruction and forced residents of major cities to abandon their homes.

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According to the Interior Ministry, this statistic represents an initial assessment of the death toll, with 153 people reported injured. According to a local authority, the majority of the casualties happened in distant mountainous places that were difficult to access.

Reports of collapsing structures in Marrakech, the nearest major city to the epicenter, appeared. The medieval city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Images on local television showed a toppled mosque minaret and debris strewn over damaged cars.

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The Interior Ministry urged for calm and offered information on the impacted districts during a televised announcement about the death toll. The provinces of Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant were also affected by the earthquake.

Several videos of the calamity surfaced on the internet. Many X users reacted to the videos and extended their sympathies to people who lost their lives in the earthquake.

One user reacting to the video said, “I am just learning about the earthquake in Morocco now, what a horrible tragedy! Nearly 300 people dead so far, I can’t believe it, did the Kutubiyya Mosque collapse or was it another one?!??! This is devastating news.”

“Noooooo. Not Morocco! This is a wonderful city and so are the people. Please do all you can to save them.” another user wrote.

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One user tweeted, “Our prayers are with the people of #Morocco who have witnessed the most devastating #earthquake with magnitude of 6.9.”

Another one wrote, “Our thoughts are with the people affected by this natural disaster. Stay safe, Morocco. 💔 #MoroccoEarthquake #StayStrongMorocco #Morocco  #Marrakech”