Britain offers support to Morocco after deadly earthquake

Britain has offered assistance to Morocco after the North African country was struck by a rare and powerful earthquake, killing at least 1,000 people.

The magnitude 6.8 tremor late on Friday damaged buildings from villages in the Atlas Mountains to the historic city of Marrakesh.

The full death toll of the most powerful quake to hit Morocco in 120 years will not be known until rescuers complete the challenging journey to the remote mountain villages that were the hardest hit.

Rishi Sunak said his thoughts are with everyone affected by the “terrible” earthquake.

“The UK stands ready to support our Moroccan friends,” the Prime Minister wrote on social media, in a message that echoed that of Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

Mr Cleverly pledged support in “whatever way we can”.

The British Red Cross has launched an emergency fundraising appeal to provide humanitarian support.

Richard Blewitt, the charity’s executive director, said: “People have lost their homes, loved ones and livelihoods, and sadly the full scale of the destruction is only likely to become apparent in the coming days.”

The Foreign Office updated its advice to Britons in the country, telling them to “follow local media and safety instructions from local authorities”.

Morocco Earthquake
People take shelter outside and check for news on their mobile phones after the earthquake (Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP/PA)

A British journalist living in Morocco described waking up to the sound of his wife screaming as the quake shook their home.

Martin Jay told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he had just settled into sleep when the tremor struck.

“The first hint was my wife screaming,” he said.

“I couldn’t quite equate the situation, I couldn’t imagine I was in the middle of an earthquake.

“Everything was vibrating, everything, the bed, the floor, the four walls.”

A man drives past a damaged wall of the historic Medina of Marrasech
A man drives past a damaged wall of the historic Medina of Marrakesh (Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP/PA)

Part of their home was damaged by the earthquake, with some of the brick walls collapsing from the tremors.

The epicentre of the earthquake was near the town of Ighil in Al Haouz province, roughly 43 miles south of Marrakesh.