Morocco earthquake: Is it secure to journey and are flights to Marrakech cancelled?

Versie Dortch

The quake prompted structures to collapse and aftershocks are probable in the location in the coming days.

On Friday a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Morocco killing additional than 2,800 people and injuring thousands.

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Rescue attempts are still ongoing and the death toll is probably to rise as they proceed. The epicentre of the quake was all-around 70 km southwest of Marrakech – a town well known with international visitors.

Industry experts have stated that aftershocks from the earthquake are probably in the area for the following pair of days. At the very least 25 have by now transpired because Friday, in accordance to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

With hundreds of people today booked to go to the region this autumn, is it safe to travel to Morocco?

Which pieces of Morocco are affected by the earthquake?

The earthquake’s epicentre was high in the Atlas Mountains which means the worst influenced spots are in central Morocco. A bulk of the fatalities and rescue attempts are centered in distant mountain villages that are challenging to accessibility.

The US Geological Study (USGS) reported that “due to the shallow depth of the celebration and its proximity to high populace centres, many properties seasoned serious shaking that can final result in catastrophic failure”.

The closest tourist hub is Morocco’s fourth largest metropolis, Marrakech in which structures have been broken or collapsed because of to the disaster. Most of the harm occurred in the medina – a UNESCO World Heritage Web-site and the oldest aspect of Marrakech. Its historic structures were being not constructed with earthquakes in intellect.

The Atlas Mountains are also a well known trekking place with reports of vacationers sleeping in the streets in mountain villages subsequent the disaster. 

Even though tremors were felt as far away as Spain and Portugal, a great deal of the relaxation of Morocco remained unaffected. Well known resort locations Agadir and Essaouira only saw minimal destruction to properties.

Casablanca, Tangier and the cash town Rabat in the north of the nation also escaped any substantial harm from the earthquake.

Is it secure to journey to Morocco suitable now?

The United kingdom Overseas, Commonwealth and Enhancement Office environment (FCDO) current its tips to travellers on 13 September warning men and women not to get involved in rescue endeavours

“On Friday 8 September 2023 an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 struck Morocco around Marrakech. More aftershocks are probable. You need to follow the tips of area authorities, and follow nearby media,” it mentioned.

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“Morocco is coordinating the humanitarian response to the earthquake. Do not undertake any form of lookup and rescue and/or humanitarian aid function without having specific authorisation from the Moroccan governing administration to do so.

“Constraints could be in location all-around places of restoration operate, and you may disrupt life-conserving perform by attempting to accessibility these parts or offer guidance devoid of permission.”

USGS has reported it is most likely that “smaller aftershocks”, beneath what it can detect and report, are most likely to be felt in the area for months to occur.

The SETO group, which represents 70 of France’s key travel tour operators, stated on Saturday that it is not conscious of any of its consumers struggling because of to the earthquake in Marrakech.

Are flights even now taking off and landing at Marrakech airport?

Despite problems in the city from the earthquake, flights to Marrakech airport ongoing to run even in the instant aftermath with airlines carefully monitoring the scenario.

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EasyJet and British Airways added additional ability with more substantial plane on flights to London on Saturday to accommodate passengers who needed to appear house early.

Some operators are giving buyers the possibility to reschedule their vacation. British Airways has stated that passengers owing to journey to or from Marrakech in advance of 24 September can improve their dates cost-free of charge if they would like. If room is out there, this also covers visitors who desire to arrive residence early. 

Air France has also supplied consumers with flights planned to or from Morocco in “the coming days” the opportunity to modify or postpone their flights for free of charge. The airline’s companies to and from Marrakech, Casablanca and Rabat are all functioning generally. 

TUI and easyJet have also mentioned that their schedules are functioning as usual. The airlines have explained to shoppers to comply with the guidance of authorities and verify the standing of their flight in advance of travelling.

EasyJet states: “If you are scheduled to travel to or from Morocco in the subsequent few times and would like to talk about your scheduling you should make contact with our consumer service group.”  

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All other major airports in Morocco are now operating typically.

Are inns in Morocco nonetheless open?

Most inns are even now open with the apparent exception of individuals in the worst-hit spots of the Atlas Mountains that are unable to accept friends. 

For case in point, Kasbah Tamadot – a luxurious resort owned by Sir Richard Branson – is presently closed to assess the effects of the damage. It would not be having any bookings until eventually November 2023 with company not able to stay provided different possibilities at other Virgin Confined houses. 

“Our major worry at this time is making sure the basic safety and welfare of our team, their families and our attendees, as perfectly as the local communities,” the resort stated in a statement on its site. 

“As ever, our communities continue to be an incredibly vital element of the Kasbah Tamadot family and our groups, despite lots of losing their households them selves, have been delivering h2o and food stuff provides to neighborhood villages.”

If you have booked a continue to be in the Atlas Mountains in the coming months or months, it might be worth examining with your travel provider to see if your accommodation is however accepting site visitors. 

What transpires if I decide on to cancel my getaway to Morocco?

Travelling to a destination that is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis can set further pressure on sources. For this explanation, travellers might be hunting to cancel their holiday getaway or leave Morocco early.

While flights are running as typical, some airways like British Airways and easyJet are providing consumers the chance to go over their scheduling with their buyer providers crew. This might enable you to rebook, postpone or even adjust the spot of your flight. 

If you have a vacation to Marrakech or the Atlas Mountains booked in the up coming few of weeks, lodging and tours could also be an problem. 

United kingdom Overseas Workplace guidance stops shorter of warning versus checking out the location but advises travellers to “check with your accommodation service provider/tour operator to affirm arrangements in advance of departure in case of disruption or hurt resulting from the earthquake”.

It is most effective to speak to your vacation agent or tour operator as they are probable to provide versatility for suspending or rebooking your holiday getaway.

If your excursion is booked for regions outside the house of the impacted areas, nevertheless, you will have to have to test with the organizations you strategy to travel with. They are unlikely to provide you the identical overall flexibility, as products and services are running as standard and cancelling could signify you won’t get your dollars again.

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