Morocco Earthquake 09SEP2023: FLASH REPORT

RileySENTINEL Flash Report

NYT Earthquake Impact Assessment 09SEP2023

RileySENTINEL FLASH Report Update

Subject: Critical Earthquake Impact in Morocco Escalates

Executive Summary

The aftermath of the 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck approximately 72 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of Marrakech continues to escalate. With a death toll now surpassing 1,000 individuals as confirmed by Moroccan state TV, this earthquake stands as the deadliest seismic event in the North African nation for decades. Rescue operations are facing severe impediments in reaching the most stricken regions due to blocked roadways. The earthquake has inflicted damage even to Marrakech's historic walls, initially constructed in the early 12th century. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the seismic event was the most potent to impact the region surrounding Marrakech in over 120 years. Morocco's royal court has declared a three-day period of national mourning, and flags will be flown at half-mast.

Situation Report


The death toll has surpassed 1,000, as reported by Moroccan state TV, making this the deadliest earthquake in Morocco in decades.

Infrastructure and Utilities:

The earthquake's epicenter was identified in the High Atlas Mountains, approximately 72 kilometers southwest of Marrakech, a city with an estimated population of 840,000. Marrakech's historic walls, originally laid out in the early 12th century, have sustained significant damage. Rescue teams are encountering significant difficulties reaching affected areas due to blocked roadways and debris.

National and International Response

The royal court has declared a three-day period of national mourning, during which flags will be flown at half-mast across the country. Israel is contributing specialized search and rescue teams, while Algeria has cleared its airspace to facilitate earthquake relief flights.

Historic Context

According to data from the U.S. Geological Survey, this is the strongest earthquake to affect the Marrakech region in more than 120 years.


Organizations and staff operating, traveling or residing  within the region should continue to engage closely with local authorities for real-time updates and instructions.

All personnel should exercise heightened caution, especially when traversing affected areas, and adhere to all local advisories. Those able to contribute medically are urged to donate blood through approved local channels, as the demand for transfusions remains high.

Post-Earthquake Safety Guidelines for Personnel

  • Avoid Further Harm

    • Stay away from buildings with structural damages and falling debris.

  • Follow Local Advisories:

    • Adhere strictly to instructions and updates from local authorities and emergency services.

    • Contact emergency assistance providers, if applicable 

    • Be prepared to relocate temporarily to a safer zone

  • Check for Injuries:

    • Administer first aid where necessary and seek medical assistance for severe injuries.

  • Be Prepared for Aftershocks:

    • These are usually less intense but can cause additional damage to weakened structures.

  • Secure Shelter:

    • Locate and move to structurally sound buildings or open areas away from hazards.

  • Communication:

    • Keep a line of communication open with your organization and loved ones to confirm your safety and to receive updates.

  • Limit Phone Use:

    • Use phones only for emergency calls to keep lines open for emergency services.

  • Maintain Supplies:

    • Keep an emergency kit handy with essential items such as water, food, medical supplies, flashlight, and batteries.

  • Avoid Using Elevators:

    • Use stairs and avoid using elevators as power outages may occur.

  • Report to Authorities:

    • Report any hazards (gas leaks, fires, etc.) to authorities immediately.


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