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564 Killed in Morocco Earthquake - 2004-02-25


Morocco's official news agency says a powerful earthquake has killed 564 people in the northern part of the country.

Local officials and rescue workers say the death toll could climb higher as teams clear rubble and reach isolated villages in the devastated region around the Mediterranean port city of Al Hoceima, some 300 kilometers northeast of the capital, Rabat.

Local hospitals and nearby army barracks and hospitals were struggling to deal with the 250 people injured in the quake.

Military and civilian rescuers were dispatched to search for survivors, while helicopters brought supplies and search and rescue equipment to the remote, mountainous region.

Local officials say at least one village (Anit Kamra) was completely destroyed and houses collapsed in several others. Many houses in the region were built of mud bricks.

The 6.5 magnitude quake struck at 02:27 AM local time, when most people were asleep. U.S. geological officials say it was centered in the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Morocco from the southern tip of Spain.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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