After the severe earthquake in Morocco with at least 2,000 deaths, the recovery and rescue teams are facing major challenges. “Some of the worst affected areas are quite remote and mountainous and therefore difficult to reach,” the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a statement.

The Moroccan news site Hespress reported that a team from Spain with dogs had now arrived in Morocco to support the search and rescue forces.

So far more than 2,000 deaths

Meanwhile, auxiliary staff are also available in Germany and other countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300,000 people in Marrakech and surrounding areas have been affected by the earthquake. They spent the second night in uncertainty and sadness. According to Moroccan authorities, the number of deaths has now risen to 2012. At least 2,059 other people were injured, more than half of them seriously, as Moroccan media reported that night, citing the Interior Ministry.

The quake on late Friday evening was the worst in Morocco in decades. King Mohammed VI ordered three days of national mourning. EU heads of state and government also offered their help and expressed their condolences in a letter to the king. “As close friends and partners of Morocco, we are ready to help you in any way you deem useful,” it said. The federal government is checking whether Germans are also among the victims in the disaster areas. There is currently no knowledge of this, according to the Foreign Office in Berlin yesterday afternoon.

More victims feared

Meanwhile, there were fears that the number of victims would continue to rise as emergency services reached remote regions. The full extent of the disaster was therefore initially uncertain. “My wife, children and I tried to leave the house, but my young daughter and my father, who is 102 years old, remained. I tried to go back to get them out but in vain, my father and daughter are died there,” a survivor in the town of Imintanoute told the Hespress news site.

The epicenter was a good 70 kilometers southwest of Marrakesh in the Atlas Mountains. There are villages along steep and winding serpentines. Since earthquakes occur relatively rarely in North Africa, experts believe that buildings are not built robustly enough to withstand such strong shaking. The 6.8 magnitude tremor triggered panic late Friday evening.

Some buildings were destroyed and famous cultural monuments were damaged in areas from the Atlas Mountains to Marrakesh’s old town. The quake was felt within a radius of 400 kilometers, said Nasser Jabour, head of a department at the National Institute of Geophysics, to the Moroccan news agency MAP. It lasted several seconds. According to the US Earthquake Observatory USGS, the quake occurred at a depth of 18.5 kilometers. According to experts, earthquakes at such shallow depths are particularly dangerous.