Death toll rises near Marrakech, Morocco, after 6.8-magnitude quake

Residents flee their homes in Al Haouz province, Morocco on September 9.
Residents flee their homes in Al Haouz province, Morocco on September 9. Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP

The international response to the 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Morocco on Friday night has been huge.

More than 800 people have been confirmed dead as rescue operations continue. In the midst of it, world leaders have offered their condolences and commiserations.

In a statement Saturday, US President Joe Biden said he is “deeply saddened” by the quake and that his administration is in contact with Moroccan officials: “We are working expeditiously to ensure American citizens in Morocco are safe, and stand ready to provide any necessary assistance for the Moroccan people.” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also expressed his “deep sadness at the loss of life and destruction” and “heartfelt condolences” to those affected, echoing Biden’s promise of assistance.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday on X, previously known as Twitter: “We are all devastated by the terrible earthquake in Morocco. France is ready to help with the rescue efforts.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his condolences to Moroccan King Mohammed VI, Chinese state media CCTV announced Saturday, calling the earthquake “shocking.”

“On behalf of the Chinese government and people, I expressed my deepest condolences to the victims, their family and those injured,” Xi said in the statement. “I believe that, under the leadership of your majesty the King, the Moroccan government and people can definitely quickly recover from this disaster and rebuild their homes,” he said.

Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky sent his “deepest condolences to HM King Mohammed VI and all Moroccans for the lives lost in the horrible earthquake. I wish those injured a fast recovery.”

Russia’s Vladimir Putin reached out to Morocco’s king in a statement published on the Kremlin’s website, adding: “Russia shares the experiences and grief of the friendly people of Morocco.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, which experienced its own horrific earthquake earlier this year — as more than 50,000 people were killed in Turkey and Syria — conveyed his “best wishes to all Moroccan people affected by the earthquake disaster in friendly and brotherly Morocco.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the G20 summit on Saturday with “heartfelt condolences” to everyone affected by the quake. He later said on his X account that he was “extremely pained by the loss of lives.”

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sent a message of sympathy to Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch, according to a Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement. “I am deeply saddened to hear that so many precious lives were lost and so many people were affected by the earthquake. I would like to express my condolences to the victims and offer my sincere sympathies to the bereaved families,” Kishida said, also indicating his country’s willingness to offer substantial aid.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo have also said that they and their countries are “with the victims” of the tragedy.

Pope Francis on Saturday expressed his “profound solidarity” with Moroccans hit by the deadly earthquake in a telegram sent to Morocco by the Vatican’s Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. “The Holy Father prays to the most high to support the people of Morocco in this ordeal and offers his encouragement to the civil authorities and rescue services,” it added.

Ready to help: Some countries say they are in touch with Morocco on how to assist the North African nation following the disaster, with Israel and the UAE already preparing to provide assistance on the ground. The United Nations has also said it will provide help.

The French ambassador to Morocco told CNN affiliate BFMTV Saturday that France is in talks with Moroccan authorities to figure out “ways to accompany Morocco in this grave crisis.”

Magen David Adom, Israel’s emergency medical team, is mobilizing and gearing up to leave for Morocco “within the next few hours” according to a statement released Saturday.

“This earthquake demands a wide-reaching response, necessitating collaboration among numerous organizations,” the director general of Magen David Adom, Eli Bin, said in the statement.

Meanwhile, the UAE’s President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan “has directed the establishment of an air bridge to deliver critical relief supplies and other forms of support to those affected by the earthquake that struck various areas of the Kingdom of Morocco.”

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