Emergency workers were deployed to affected regions after the earthquake, despite some roads being damaged or blocked by debris. Some remote villages on the foothills of the mountain have been hard to access.
Mohammed, 50, from the town of Ouirgane, lost four family members in the quake. “I managed to get out safely with my two children but lost the rest. My house is gone,” he said.
Rescue operations are still ongoing. “We are out in the streets with authorities as they try to pull the dead from the rubble. Many many people were transported to hospital in front of me. We are hoping for miracles from the rubble” he said.
But destroyed roads to villages are making it hard to get aid into some of the hardest-hit regions, a Moroccan government official told CNN.
“The rescue efforts are ongoing to reach the difficult areas. The earthquake struck mountainous areas that are scattered geographically and it’s difficult to reach these areas in some cases,” the official told CNN. Authorities are using helicopters to reach the worst-hit areas and machinery to remove the rubble from the impassable roads, the official said.
Inside and outside Marrakech, many residents have spent two nights on the streets, afraid to return to their homes. In the hard-hit central village of Moulay Brahim, south of Marrakech in the Atlas Mountains, CNN found a family living in a makeshift camp on a soccer field, with authorities telling them it could be a week before they can go home. Firefighters are leading rescue efforts but some buildings are too dangerous to enter.
Morocco’s government said it had activated all available resources to tackle the quake and urged people to “avoid panic.”
King Mohammed VI of Morocco ordered that a relief commission be set up to distribute aid to survivors, including orphans and people who lost their homes in the disaster.
He also declared three days of national mourning and ordered mosques nationwide to hold funeral prayers, known as “Janazah” prayers, at noon on Sunday for those killed.
CNN’s Eyad Kourdi and Pierre Meilhan contributed reporting to this post.