Cracked but not collapsed: that could be the motto of the Koutoubia, the thousand-year-old mosque miraculously rescued from the earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale that struck the Marrakech region on the night of September 8-9.
Although Marrakech was partially destroyed, the imperial city was relatively unscathed. The same cannot be said of the Atlas villages, as the epicenter was identified in the province of Al-Haouz by the Rabat-based Centre national de la recherche scientifique et technique (CNRST).
The natural disaster claimed the lives of at least 2,800 people in the country, and injured a further 2,500.
A monument turned symbol of resilience
On September 9, Eric Falt, Regional Director of UNESCO’s Maghreb Office, visited the Medina to see the extent of the damage. In his statement, he insisted that priority must be given to saving human lives. However, he did not neglect the second phase, which consists of rebuilding schools and cultural assets.
Located 72 kilometers southwest of the epicenter, Marrakech, the country’s economic and tourist heartland, remains the closest major city to the quake’s point of impact.
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Front page photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash