Morocco’s Interior Ministry reported on Friday night that a powerful earthquake has killed at least 296 people.
The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces announced the death toll, citing the government department.
The Interior Ministry, in a televised statement about the death toll, called for calm and listed the affected regions as Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant.
The earthquake occurred in an area with small farming villages in close proximity to Toubkal, which is the highest peak in North Africa, as well as Oukaimeden, a well-known Moroccan ski resort.
Morocco’s National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network registered a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale, while the U.S. agency recorded a subsequent aftershock with a magnitude of 4.9 just 19 minutes later.
Moroccans and tourists shared videos online showing buildings reduced to rubble that fell on cars and roads, and panicked people fleeing through dust-filled streets with what they could carry, screaming in terror.
Local television showed pictures of a fallen mosque minaret with rubble lying on smashed cars.