A very powerful earthquake has killed 820 people in Morocco, leaving several others seriously injured.
The Morocco Interior Ministry has reported that the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.8.
It occurred at around 23:00 local time (22:00 GMT) and a strong aftershock was felt in cities across the country.
“According to a provisional report, the earthquake killed 296 people in the provinces and municipalities of Al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant,” read part of an official statement from the government of Morocco.
As a result, 670 people who were injured during the tragedy are undergoing treatment at various health facilities in the country, government officials have reported.
The earthquake’s epicenter was at a depth of 18.5km and occurred in the High Atlas Mountains about 72km northeast of Marrakesh, according to the US Geological Survey.
A video circulating on social media, shows people running into the streets and buildings shaking due to the impact of the earthquake.
Government officials in Morocco have reported that Saturday’s earthquake was the strongest ever experienced in the country.
“We felt a very violent tremor, and I realized it was an earthquake,” Abdelhak El Amrani told AFP news.
“People were all in shock and panic, the children were crying and the parents were distraught,” he added.
At the same time, reliable sources reported that the earthquake triggered a blackout that lasted for about 10 minutes before power was restored.
The telephone network was also affected for a short time as people decided to stay outside their houses as events unfolded.