UAE Rulers offer condolences over deadly Morocco earthquake

More than 600 people have been confirmed dead after the tremor south-west of Marrakesh on Friday

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake in the Atlas Mountains on Friday has caused devastation in the historic city of Marrakesh. Reuters
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President Sheikh Mohamed and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, have joined other world leaders in sending their condolences to Morocco over the deadly earthquake that struck late on Friday.

More than 600 people were killed and more than 300 injured when the 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck in a mountainous area near the city of Marrakesh shortly after 11pm, according to an updated toll issued by Morocco's Interior Ministry on Saturday morning.

“I extend my deepest condolences to my brother King Mohammed VI and the people of Morocco over the devastating earthquake that struck the country. We in the UAE stand with the Kingdom of Morocco during this difficult time and wish a speedy recovery ahead to all those affected,” Sheikh Mohamed said in a message posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The President ordered the setting up of an air bridge to deliver assistance to Morocco, state news agency Wam reported.

Sheikh Mohamed arrived in New Delhi on Friday to attend the Group of 20 summit along with other world leaders.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid also extended his condolences to the people of Morocco.

“We ask God to inspire them with patience and solace, to be kind to them, and to maintain safety and security for them,” he wrote on X.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt were among other Arab countries that sent messages of condolence, along with the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation. Neighbouring Algeria, which has had strained ties with Morocco, also offered its condolences in a statement issued by the foreign ministry.

European leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have also offered condolences.

Turkey, which suffered a devastating earthquake in February, said it was ready to provide all kinds of support “to heal the wounds of the earthquake in Morocco”.

Israel, which established diplomatic ties with Morocco in 2020 under the Abraham Accords, was in contact with Moroccan authorities to discuss providing humanitarian aid and sending out a rescue mission, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the G20 summit host, also offered assistance in a message issued as the gathering began on Saturday.

“We pray that all the injured people get well soon. The entire world community is with Morocco in this difficult time and we are ready to provide them all possible assistance,” Mr Modi said.

The UN and EU are also standing by to assist Morocco, spokesmen for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on X.

Updated: September 11, 2023, 4:31 AM