564 DEAD

compiled by Dee Finney


updated 3-16-04


EARTHQUAKE on 25/02/2004 at 05:21 (UTC)  ( Aftershock)
STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR               151 km SE Gibraltar


Data provided by: GFZ  GSRC IMP  LDG  MAD  SED                     

Latitude    =  35.17 N
Longitude   =   3.97 W
Origin Time =  05:21:15.7 (UTC)
Depth       =  30 Km
RMS         =   1.72 sec
Gap         = 248 degrees
95% confidence ellipse: - Semi major = 12.4 Km
                        - Semi minor = 7.3 Km
                        - Azimuth of major axis =   6 degrees

Number of data used = 98

Preliminary location computed on Wed Feb 25 08:13:20 2004 (UTC)
Done by Gilles Mazet-Roux

Comments :  Message number: 278

All magnitudes estimations :
mb4.7 (GFZ)   MS4.0 (GSRC)  ML4.0 (IMP)   mb5.4 (LDG)  
mb5.1 (MAD)           
STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR               144 km SE Gibraltar



Latitude    =  35.23 N
Longitude   =   4.02 W
Origin Time =  02:27:45.1 (UTC)
Depth       =   2 Km
RMS         =   1.06 sec
Gap         = 120 degrees
95% confidence ellipse: - Semi major = 4.8 Km
                        - Semi minor = 2.7 Km
                        - Azimuth of major axis = 163 degrees

Number of data used = 270

Preliminary location computed on Tue Feb 24 10:44:47 2004 (UTC)
Done by Gilles Mazet-Roux

Comments : This location includes stations from Morocco.

Message number: 276

All magnitudes estimations :
Mw6.6 (EVRO)  mb6.2 (GFZ)   mb6.1 (GFZ)   ML5.5 (IMP)  
ML5.8 (INGV)  mb6.4 (LDG)   Mw6.5 (LIC)   mb5.4 (MAD)  
M 6.5 (NEIC)                                           

P.S.: For additional information, please contact EMSC at:
             - Email:
             - Web  :
             - Fax  : 33 1 69 26 70 00

Update time = Tue Feb 24 20:06:02 UTC 2004


MAP 6.4 2004/02/24 02:27:47 35.225 -3.950 1.4 STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR

MAP 6.3 2004/02/23 16:04:46 -14.973 -175.649 15.2 SAMOA ISLANDS REGION

MAP 5.0 2004/02/23 15:38:38 37.496 71.782 78.1 TAJIKISTAN

MAP 5.7 2004/02/22 23:17:16 18.498 145.526 200.1 PAGAN REGION, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS

MAP 6.0 2004/02/22 06:46:27 -1.588 100.402 42.9 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA

MAP 6.6 2004/02/21 02:34:43 -58.523 -14.855 10.0 EAST OF THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

MAP 6.0 2004/02/20 05:58:46 -11.628 166.383 84.4 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS

MAP 5.1 2004/02/19 18:04:25 -23.856 -66.488 203.7 JUJUY PROVINCE, ARGENTINA

MAP 5.0 2004/02/19 04:59:09 -55.576 -143.632 10.0 PACIFIC-ANTARCTIC RIDGE

MAP 5.0 2004/02/19 01:38:51 -4.968 152.744 54.7 NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

MAP 5.2 2004/02/18 12:12:37 -19.222 -173.590 55.0 TONGA

MAP 5.8 2004/02/18 10:59:20 23.713 -108.799 10.0 GULF OF CALIFORNIA

Earthquake survivors protest over lack of aid

Survivors of the earthquake that has killed nearly 600 people in northern Morocco have blocked a main road, in a protest against the lack of government aid to rebuild their lives.

Dozens of demonstrators have staged a sit-in on the road linking the Mediterranean port city of al-Hoceima to the interior, interrupting all traffic.

Meanwhile, international aid has begun reaching al-Hoceima.

Aircraft from Spain, France and Algeria have arrived with food, blankets and rescue equipment, while further flights are expected from several other countries, including Italy, Portugal and Belgium.

Rescuers say hopes have dimmed of finding any more people alive in the rubble of mud-brick homes in villages around al-Hoceima.

The Health Minister says the death toll from Morocco's worst natural disaster in more than 40 years has risen to at least 564.

Dozens of aftershocks have rippled across the region and authorities fear the death toll could climb higher, when search-and-rescue teams reach hamlets up the Rif mountains.


Morocco Earthquake Claims 564 Lives, Hundreds Injured
Kerry Sheridan
25 Feb 2004, 12:39 UTC

The deadly earthquake that shook northeastern Morocco Tuesday has killed at least 564 people and injured about 300 more.

A Moroccan Red Crescent official, Abdeslam Makroumy, says rescue teams are working hard to find people who may have survived under the ruins of several remote villages near the port city of Al Hoceima. "There is always hope someone will be found alive," he says.

At least six villages were destroyed when the 6.5 magnitude tremor struck in the middle of the night Tuesday, crumbling many mud brick houses and crushing people inside.

Rescue teams have been struggling to reach all the affected areas, some of which are in mountainous, rural sections of northeastern Morocco.

Moroccan Red Crescent officials set up tents and handed out blankets to protect homeless survivors against the cold, rainy night. Mr. Makroumy says international efforts have contributed to the rescue effort. He says France, Spain, Portugal, Libya, and the United Arab Emirates have all sent expert personnel and relief supplies.

Local hospitals reported being overwhelmed with the dead and injured. Some of the wounded were being treated in army barracks and charity centers. Others were airlifted to regional hospitals.

Morocco's official news agency said the country's leader, King Mohammed, is scheduled to visit the earthquake-ravaged area.


February 24, 2004

Morocco earthquake kills up to 300

Up to 300 people are feared to have died in an earthquake which shook Morocco this morning.

The official death toll now stands at 82 but locals fear the number of dead will increase dramatically as more bodies are dug from the rubble.

The quake was centred just off shore from the city of al-Hoceima a well-known fishing and tourism destination, on Morocco's Mediterranean coast.

The city escaped the worst of the quake, but the village of Ait Kamara about 10 miles to the south was completely destroyed. Two other villages nearby, Im-Zouren and Bni-Hadifa, were badly hit.

The quake measured 6.5 on the Richter scale. It struck at 2.30am this morning. Many of those killed lived in mud huts which were completely flattened by the quake.

A large-scale rescue operation involving army and navy troops, backed by helicopters, was under way this morning.

The last major earthquake to hit the Maghreb area was in neighbouring Algeria last May. It measured 6.8 on the Richter scale and killed 2,300 people near the capital Algiers.

Morocco’s worst recorded quake was in 1960. It destroyed the southern Atlantic city of Agadir, killing 12,000 people.

Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 9:34 AM

Subject: Quake Alert

6.4 Quake Strikes Northern Morocco, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland

A 6.4 magnitude quake has been reported just north of the coast of Morocco--a very unusual location for such a large quake. One news report says that the epicenter was eastern France. Over 300 have been reported killed thus far, so the toll will likely
be much higher. France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, in addition to Morocco have been affected. A news report from
Morocco states that in Imzouren, a city of 30,000 people some 10 kilometers (six miles) south of Al Hoceima, about 40 small buildings and houses were "entirely destroyed" by the earthquake, a local official said, stressing that "entire families" had been asleep in them when the quake struck at 2:27 am (0227 GMT). This report states that the earthquake's epicenter was in the
town of Ait Kamra, some 10 kilometers south of Al Hoceima. It has been followed by hundreds of aftershocks. Perhaps there
has been more than one quake that is being reported.

Here is a personal report from someone in Spain:

3:30 tonight my bed, lamps and the whole apartment where i live with 7 floors was shaking , A earthquake , i though the
whole apartment would fall down , luckely it stopped after half minute. The neightbours said they felt it to, i called the police
but i could not reach the line it was colapsed since everyone was calling, but after 15 minuts i got answer and they told me
they felt it too and it was a earthquake, they recomended leaving the building if things started to fall down using the stairs not
the elevator...

later on the local readio they confirmed it was an earthquake so big as 6.3 on the richer scala it had been felt in whole south
spain, and it came from the north of Africa. in Melila north of africa telephone lines was down everywhere, there still not news about wounded in africa where the earthquake was worst.

I packed a suitcase in case evacuation , but i hope it will not be more shakes ...

it is very rare with such a big earthquake in south spain , is my first time i felt an earthquake...

everything is ok here there is no damage , but i feared the whole block would fall down...

There have been other unusual quakes, too. One (a 4.8) has been reported in Burundi, 13 minutes earlier in a different part
of the world, which almost never gets a quake report. Yesterday there was a 6.3 quake in the Samoa Islands, the day before
that a 6.0 in Southern Sumatra, and the day before that a 6.6 in the South Sandwich Islands.

300 Feared Dead in Morocco Earthquake

By ALI NAJI Tuesday, February 24, 2004

RABAT, Morocco - A powerful earthquake struck northern Morocco early Tuesday, toppling mudbrick and stone houses and killing at least 300 people, the Red Cross said. Many of the victims were women, children, and the elderly.

The quake shook rural areas near the Mediterranean city of Al Hoceima, and there were deep concerns about the fate of three outlying villages _ Ait Kamara, Tamassint and Imzourn _ where 30,000 people live in mud and stone structures unable to withstand a major natural disaster.

Josephine Shields, of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said 300 were feared dead and 600 injured.

She said civil defense officials in Al Hoceima said Ait Kamara _ a village of 6,000 _ was completely destroyed.

"The latest we have is that roughly 300 persons are feared dead and about 600 or more injured," she said in Tunis, Tunisia. "The hospital services and health centers have been saturated."

The region hit by the quake was inhabited by a large population of non-Arab Berbers.

Authorities already have counted 140 deaths in Ait Kamara.

Mohammed Ziane, a former human rights minister, said it was highly likely that most quake victims were women, children and the elderly.

"This is a real tragedy," said Ziane, a native of Al Hoceima. "Most people living in this area are women, children and old people. The men leave for jobs in the Netherlands and Germany."

The death toll climbed steadily throughout the day as rescuers began reaching the hard-hit areas and finding corpses, officials said. Some families had already buried their dead.

King Mohammed VI, in a condolence message, promised all possible efforts in mobilizing "human and material resources" for the stricken region. The king called the temblor a "challenge of destiny."

Military and civilian rescuers were dispatched to the scene to help survivors and search for victims trapped under rubble, while helicopters filled with emergency supplies were being dispatched.

However, rescuers reported difficulties in reaching the stricken area, located in the foothills of the Rif Mountains and served by narrow, poor roads. French LCI television showed men with pick axes chipping their way through debris left by flattened buildings _ while others used their bare hands _ to try to reach trapped victims.

More than 200 relief workers from the Moroccan Red Crescent are at the scene.

"The most urgent priority is to search for survivors and give them proper medical attention," Baddredine Bensaoud, secretary-general of the Moroccan Red Crescent, said in a statement released by the international Red Cross in Geneva.

France had two rescue teams of 60 people each, with dogs and other quake rescue abilities, standing by. It also had a separate reconnaissance team of four fire officials waiting for orders to be dispatched.

"There is enormous damage," Mekki Elhankouri, a physician at Bades clinic in Al Hoceima told France 2 television in a telephone interview. "There were three-story buildings that crashed to the ground and are completely crushed."

An aftershock with a magnitude of 4.1 was felt outside Al Hoceima at 11:04 a.m. (1104 GMT), according to the official MAP news agency. It quoted the geophysical laboratory of the National Scientific and Technical Research Center.

The death toll was expected to rise throughout the day, the Interior Ministry said. A physician at Mohammed V hospital in Al Hoceima told LCI there were "many deaths and many injured."

"Most of the injured have broken bones," he said. "Houses collapsed. It was a very, very violent jolt."

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 6.5-magnitude quake was centered 100 miles northeast of Fez, in the Mediterranean Sea. It occurred about one mile below the seabed at 2:27 a.m., when most people were sleeping.

Al Hoceima, one of the largest cities in northern Morocco and with a large Berber population, appeared to have been spared. The town, originally a military garrison, was founded by the Spanish early in the 20th century. It was named Villa Sanjuro at the time but now carries an Arabic name.

While a tourist destination because of its Mediterranean beaches, the region suffers from extreme poverty and underdevelopment because of government neglect after a Berber rebellion in 1960. The local economy is sustained by fishing and by farmers who grow cannabis.

The quake _ which reverberated across the Strait of Gibraltar _ was felt across much of southern Spain, but no damage or injuries were reported there. News reports said it was most noticed in tall apartment buildings in southern Andalusia and southeast Murcia. The quake was also felt in the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla.

An unrelated temblor Monday evening shook the Alps region in southeastern France. No injuries or damage were reported.

The last large earthquake to hit the area measured 6.0 and struck in 1994. But Morocco's deadliest earthquake hit in 1960, when 12,000 people died in the southern city of Agadir.

The last time a major earthquake battered North Africa was on May 21, 2003, when more than 2,200 people were killed and 10,000 injured after a quaker devastated northern Algeria.

Morocco is a Muslim monarchy of 31 million people.


Aftershocks hinder rescue work in Morocco

Wednesday, 25 February , 2004, 22:48

Imzouren, Morocco: Search and rescue teams stepped up a frantic hunt on Wednesday for survivors of a powerful earthquake in northeastern Morocco that killed more than 560 people, as international aid poured into a region still trembling with aftershocks.

Rescuers were making their way up to remote mountain hamlets, while hospitals in the towns of Al Hoceima province struggled to keep up with a flood of casualties, which at the last official count late on Tuesday numbered 564 dead and over 300 injured.

King Mohammed VI had been due to visit the affected region on Wednesday.

But local officials said the visit had been postponed until Thursday. This could not be confirmed by officials in Rabat.

The quake, which occurred before dawn on Tuesday and measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, was followed by hundreds of aftershocks that stirred panic in survivors and was expected on Wednesday to drive them to sleep outside for a second straight night.

"This is a terrible catastrophe. I can't use words to describe it. We have no house and there is no money for another one," said 23-year-old Najia from Imzouren, whose father, Mohamed Boutasrontu, was feared dead.

In the wrecked town, where yet another death was announced on Wednesday, and in neighbouring Ait Kamra, angry survivors and some aid groups blamed the high death toll on the shabby construction of 1980s concrete blocks, which crumbled in the quake alongside homes built of mud.

Arguments raged as to whether the lessons of previous quakes in the region -- including one in 1994 which killed a handful of people -- had been learned.

"The old rural clay houses can't stand up to such a shock but neither can many recent buildings, because they do not meet construction standards," said Omar Moussa Abdellah, a member of a regional economic development organisation.

In the nearby hamlet of Tazaghine, Omar Moussaoui took in the destruction. "I implore God to help us. I have lost everything. Four of my loved ones are dead," he said.

"The earth, the mountains danced. And us, we cried. But such is the will of God," Omar Sellam added.

Hundreds of Moroccan soldiers sifted through the rubble of scores of flattened mud homes in villages in the region and began erecting temporary accommodation for survivors. But one official said hopes were fading of finding more people alive.

While the national armed forces were being mobilised for the rescue work, international aid began arriving in the Mediterranean port of Al Hoceima, a city of 100,000 people which was miraculously spared from the disaster.

Aircraft from Algeria, France and Spain arrived in Morocco loaded with food, blankets and rescue equipment, while further aid shipments were expected during the day from Belgium, Greece, Italy, Portugal and other countries.

The United Nations headquarters in Geneva said it was sending a six-member disaster and coordination assessment team and was organising a shipment of relief supplies.

The European Commission -- the European Union's executive -- unblocked 500,000 euros (625,000 dollars) in emergency donations, while aid money was also offered by Japan and the United States.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies appealed for 2.8 million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros, 2.2 million dollars) to provide tents, blankets, mattresses, cooking facilities and food.

"The greatest needs at the moment are to provide shelter and warmth to those who have been left homeless and to boost the medical assistance available to the many hundreds who have been injured," said the federation's secretary general, Markku Niskala.

The port of Al Hoceima was slowly coming back to life on Wednesday, even though the area continued to experience aftershocks, including one at midday that measured 5.2 on the Richter scale.

But many shops remained closed as a sign of mourning and schools were also shut. The first burials of victims began in the port on Tuesday afternoon.

Local officials said hundreds of injured people continued to arrive in Al Hoceima throughout the day, putting additional pressure on its overstretched medical services.

One hospital there was overflowing and the injured were evacuated to a local army barracks and a charity home. Aid organisations were setting up field hospitals and tents in the area.

In Imzouren, a soldier helping to organise the relief effort expressed frustration.

"The officials know this is region is on a fault line but there were no resources here, not an ambulance, nothing."

He pointed to the firefighters. "All this is too late. We have to save the living, not the dead."

Morocco's worst earthquake in modern times occurred in February 1960. At least 12,000 people were killed when a quake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale destroyed the port city of Agadir on the Atlantic coast.