Satellite images taken before and after Friday’s powerful earthquake in Morocco show how destructive — and deadly — tremors in this part of the country, where many homes are made of mud brick, can be.
The big picture: The death toll of the 6.8 magnitude earthquake, which hit about 44 miles southwest of Marrakech, topped 2,800 late Monday local time with more than 2,500 others injured. Those numbers are expected to rise as rescuers race against time to get to the most remote villages and towns in hopes of finding survivors.
State of play: Some residents have criticized the Moroccan government for what they say has been a slow response to the quake, especially in some of the hardest-hit mountainous areas.
A government spokesperson defended the government’s response on Sunday, telling Al Jazeera authorities are facing several obstacles. “The main challenges are rocks falling which lead to closures on roads, but there are helicopters to reach the remote areas and provide help and aid,” the spokesperson said.
Zoom in: Powerful quakes like the one on Friday “are uncommon” in the region, but “not unexpected,” according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
What to watch: Sasani hopes authorities and residents use more earthquake-resistant materials and techniques as they rebuild. But he cautioned he’s not very optimistic, given these materials are more expensive and this part of Morocco lacks the socioeconomic resources and means to enforce any building regulations in extremely remote areas.
A satellite image shows the Moroccan town of Talat N’yaaqoub before Friday’s earthquake. Satellite image: Maxar Technologies
A satellite image shows the Moroccan town of Talat N’yaaqoub after Friday’s earthquake. Satellite image: Maxar Technologies
Residents assess the damage in Talat N’Yaaqoub, south of Marrakesh. Photo: Khaled Nasraoui/Picture Alliance via Getty Images
Destroyed houses in Talat N’Yaaqoub, Morocco. Photo: Echarif/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images