An earthquake, which had a magnitude of at least 6.8, struck Morocco on Friday, killing more than 1,000 people and devastating a region where many vulnerable buildings were unable to withstand the shaking.
The epicenter was about 35 miles west of Oukaimeden, a popular ski resort in the High Atlas Mountains, according to the United States Geological Survey. Rubble filled alleyways in Marrakesh, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and houses were flattened in villages in the countryside.
Around 1.8 million people live in the area that experienced strong shaking, where the likelihood of damage is highest, according to a New York Times analysis of shake intensity data from the U.S. Geological Survey and population density data from WorldPop. About 3 million more people experienced moderate shaking.
The largest concentration of known victims so far are in the Al Haouz region, just south of Marrakesh.
Marrakesh, the largest city in the zone that experienced strong shaking, has one of the country’s most densely populated medinas, ancient maze-like neighborhoods at the center of many Moroccan cities.
Although much of southern Morocco, where the quake struck, is rural, the region’s cities and towns are often very densely populated.
The quake was the strongest to hit the area in more than a century.