The death toll from the devastating earthquake that struck Morocco on Monday has risen to 2,862, according to the latest official figures. The 7.1 magnitude quake, which was centered near the city of Fez, also injured more than 12,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
The Moroccan authorities have mobilized thousands of soldiers, police, firefighters and volunteers to search for survivors and provide relief to the affected areas. However, the rescue work has been hampered by the damage to roads, bridges and communication networks, as well as the lack of electricity and water in some places.
The hardest-hit areas are the rural regions of Fes-Meknes, Beni Mellal-Khenifra and Draa-Tafilalet, where many buildings collapsed or were severely damaged. Some villages have been completely cut off from the outside world, and the residents are in urgent need of food, water, medicine and shelter.
The Moroccan government has declared three days of national mourning and has appealed for international assistance. Several countries and organizations have responded by sending aid workers, medical teams, search and rescue teams and humanitarian supplies to Morocco. The United Nations has also launched a $34 million emergency appeal to support the relief efforts.
The earthquake was the worst natural disaster to hit Morocco since 1960, when a 5.7 magnitude quake killed about 15,000 people in the city of Agadir. The Moroccan authorities have vowed to rebuild the affected areas and provide adequate compensation to the victims. They have also announced plans to improve the seismic monitoring and preparedness systems in the country.