Morocco earthquake

Morocco earthquake

Devastating earthquakes

On 8 September 2023, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Morocco in the High Atlas Mountains,  causing thousands of deaths and injuries..

On Friday 8 September, a powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Morocco at 11pm local time, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries and mass destruction. 

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are now on the ground assessing the medical humanitarian needs.

The current situation

As of 13 September, according to official data by the Moroccan government, almost 2,900 people are reported killed, and around 2,562 are injured. The earthquake mainly hit rural areas, where there were landslides, collapses, paths were cut or difficult to use. In these difficult to access regions, the population density is low, hence the fact that the human toll of this disaster is still limited.

John Johnson, MSF's emergency coordinator, gave an update from Marrakech, close to where the earthquake happened. There, local health department medical  teams are treating people the best they can under the circumstances. The hospitals in Marrakech are still standing and providing support while outside the city, where buildings have fallen, people are looking for support in small tented facilities.

… people began to arrive around 8.30 in the morning and the place quickly filled up … [we saw] different types of wounded, broken arms, broken legs, cranial trauma, things like that. Everybody's exhausted, they're working with the supplies that they had available at the time, but it's starting to run low.

John Johnson
MSF emergency coordinator

A lot of traditional buildings and smaller villages have been completely destroyed. There's nothing left but rubble and rocks. There's an ongoing search for survivors in the rubble.


MSF’s emergency response teams have arrived to Morocco's Chichaoua Province, located in Marrakesh-Safi, to evaluate the needs of the people living in the isolated villages affected by the strong earthquake that struck the country . Medical and logistics staff are meeting different hospital directors to see if there are needs in terms of human resources or pharmacy supplies or logistical needs that we can support.

So far, MSF has made four donations to medical structures in the affected regions of Al-Haouz and Souss-Massa, these donations contained medicines, such as injectable medicines, analgesics, antibiotics, stomach protectors, and medical equipment (plasters, bandages, braces, blood pressure monitors, glucometers.

 “We might want to look into the scarce availability of mental health services, as a gap we identified, since there is only one psychiatrist and no psychologists working in this province with 400,000 residents,” reports Carlos Rubio, MSF’s emergency coordinator. “However, there are incident mobilization efforts for psychological support ongoing in some areas, which we will also assess, as it is necessary to enhance psychological support as part of the ongoing response efforts,”. 

We are continuing our exploratory mission to see if we can deploy activities that are relevant in this context, while there is a large mobilisation of local emergency services.

In earthquake response, MSF teams may provide support in dealing with orthopaedic injuries or crush wounds that require dialysis.

We know there are also long-term needs on the back of earthquakes. We will look at if we can support communities in their long-term mental health needs, which are often quite stark after an earthquake.

Jennifer Tierney
executive director for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Australia

As MSF teams continue to assess this crisis situation, we standby ready to assist and remain committed to providing updates on our efforts and the evolving situation on the ground. 

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As an independent, impartial medical humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières can respond rapidly to crises and deliver urgent medical care to people in need – no matter where they are.  

By making a donation you can help ensure that we can be there to provide medical assistance during times of crisis, such us  right now in Morocco.