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Morocco 'deadliest' earthquake kills more than 2,000

As families mourn the sudden deaths of their beloved, rescuers dig in remote mountainous areas in Morocco, in hopes of finding more survivors.

The number of people killed in Morocco’s deathliest earthquake rose to 2,012, according to Morroco’s home affairs ministry, and 1,404 others are in critical condition.

However, experts have already warned the number of dead is likely to increase as rescuers continue to work through rubble and reach remote areas. 

The 6.8-magnitude quake struck 72 kilometres southwest of Marrakesh, wiping out entire villages in rural areas, on Friday around 11pm.

The United States Geological Survey said the earthquake shook Morocco’s High Atlas mountain, at a relatively shallow depth of 18.5 kilometers.

The epicentre southwest of Marrakech houses some 840,000 people and is a popular tourist destination.

Emergency services were deployed to quake-stricken regions, as King Mohammed VI of Morocco ordered that a relief commission be set up to distribute aid to survivors. 

Offers of international aid poured in from countries including Japan, France and the UAE.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has confirmed that all 27 Maltese nationals who contacted them are safe and unharmed.

“The Ministry is aware that most of them have already travelled to another part of Morocco. Others are set to leave the region between today Sunday 10th and Wednesday 13th,” the Ministry wrote on Facebook.