Morocco Update: More than 2000 Killed as Rescuers Dig through Rubble for Survivors

The death toll climbed to 2,122 on Sunday afternoon, state-run broadcaster 2M said, with a further 2,421 people injured.
The number of fatalities is expected to rise further as rescuers dig through the rubble of collapsed houses in remote areas of the Atlas Mountains.
The minaret of a mosque stands behind damaged or destroyed houses following an earthquake on Moulay Brahim, Morocco, on September 9 (Fedel Senna/AFP/Getty Images)

Rescuers are racing against time. The first 72 hours after a quake are the most critical period for finding survivors, as the condition of people trapped and injured can quickly deteriorate beyond that window.

“They call it the ‘golden period’ because if you’re going to get people out from under the rubble, that’s the time to do it,” said Joe English, a spokesperson for the UN’s Children Fund, UNICEF.

“These towns and villages, they’re remote, they’re hard to reach…International support and solidarity is absolutely critical,” he added.

Moroccan Royal Armed Forces evacuate a body from a house destroyed by the earthquake in the mountain village of Tafeghaghte on September 9. (Fedel Senna/AFP/Getty Images)

Emergency services were deployed to quake-stricken regions, as King Mohammed VI of Morocco ordered that a relief commission be set up to distribute aid to survivors. Offers of international aid poured in from countries including Japan, France and the UAE.

Morocco will observe three days of mourning following the quake, the Royal Palace said. Flags will be flown at half-staff on all public buildings.