, EU leaders have joined forces in pledging support for Morocco after its deadly earthquake.
A total of 2,681 people are known to have died in the tremor – the country’s deadliest in 60 years. It happened on the night of 8 September.
The 6.8 magnitude tremor hit the High Atlas mountains south of Marrakesh and destroyed many rural and remote villages.
One of them – Tafeghaghte – is reported by the BBC as having had its population of 200 people nearly halved, and many are still missing.
A statement was issued by the EU Council which said, “Members of the European Council, would like to share our most sincere condolences for the terrible loss of life following the dreadful earthquake that took place.
“We are deeply saddened by the devastating consequences of this tragic event.
“The European Union and its Member States stand in full solidarity with the people of Morocco in this difficult moment.
“Our thoughts are with all Moroccans who have lost their cherished family members and friends. We wish full and speedy recovery to all those who have been injured. As close friends and partners of Morocco, we are ready to assist in any way that may be deemed useful.
“Our thoughts of compassion continue to be with Morocco.”
The sentiments were echoed by EU parliament president Roberta Metsola.
She commented on the tragedy at the start of the parliament’s session in Strasbourg on Monday.
The MEP said that following the “terrible earthquake in Morocco where thousands were killed and injured” she wanted to “express solidarity” with the people of Morocco and said that Europe stands ready to provide assistance.
Meanwhile, Morocco’s government is under pressure to accept more international aid, as rescuers battle with exhaustion.
So far, it has accepted help from only four countries – Spain, the UK, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Albert Vasquez, a communications officer for a team of 30 Spanish firefighters, told the AFP news agency that “it’s very difficult to find people alive after three days” but “hope is still there”.
In the village of Moulay Brahim, 26-year-old Said told the BBC that he saw his neighbor’s house collapse.
“A family of six people lived there. The father was outside at the time and is still alive, but his wife and four children were there and died,” he said, in a state of shock.