Efforts continue in Morocco for the sixth day, seeking to reach neighborhoods under rubble in the areas affected by the strong earthquake that struck the country last Friday evening, leaving thousands dead and injured.

Moroccan rescue personnel, with the support of foreign teams and volunteers, are trying to speed up search operations as more than 100 hours have passed since the disaster occurred and hopes of finding potential survivors begin to diminish.

The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior announced on Tuesday evening, a new rise in the number of earthquake victims, recording the number of dead at 2,901 and injured at 5,530, while public authorities continue their efforts to rescue and evacuate the wounded, care for the injured victims, and open the roads that were damaged as a result of the earthquake, which was described as the most violent in more than a century.

King Mohammed VI visited the University Hospital in Marrakesh yesterday evening and inspected the injured victims of the earthquake that struck the al Haouz province on Friday evening.

Hospitals in Marrakesh received about 2,200 injured earthquake victims, including about 500 who were seriously injured.

In the context of mobilizing efforts to support those affected by the earthquake, the spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, said that reports received by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicate that nearly 100,000 children were affected by the earthquake in Morocco.

Dujarric confirmed that UNICEF has mobilized humanitarian staff to support the immediate response on the ground.

The rugged nature of most of the areas struck by Friday’s earthquake poses the biggest challenges for search and rescue teams, who are racing against time to reach them and begin digging and retrieving operations from under the rubble.

Access to the villages closest to the epicenter of the earthquake is still difficult due to landslides.

On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron denounced the controversy surrounding relations between Paris and Rabat after Morocco refused to accept aid offered to it by France following the devastating earthquake that struck the Marrakesh region.

Morocco announced on Sunday that it had accepted support from four countries, Spain, Britain, Qatar and the UAE, but it didn’t request assistance from France, which was among dozens of countries that offered assistance, which immediately raised many questions.

Macron announced on Sunday that his country was ready to intervene as soon as it received a request in this regard from the Moroccan authorities.

On Tuesday, Macron said in a video message in which he addressed the Moroccan people, “It’s clear that it’s up to His Majesty the King and the Moroccan government, in a completely sovereign manner, to organize international aid, and therefore we are at the disposal of their sovereign choice”.

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