The number of those killed in the Moroccan earthquake is getting close to 2,700

The death toll from Morocco’s largest earthquake in more than six decades increased to over 2,700 on Monday as rescuers raced against time to find survivors among the debris of their homes as villagers cried for their lost relatives.

After a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the High Atlas Mountains late on Friday, with the epicentre 72 km (45 miles) southwest of Marrakech, rescue efforts in Morocco were joined by teams from Spain, Britain, and Qatar.

The official news agency of the country announced that 2,681 people had been killed and 2,501 others were injured. Traditional mud brick buildings were common in the area, but rescuers said their crumbling condition made it less likely that anyone would be found alive inside.

Suleiman Aytnasr, 7, was killed when his mother tried to move him from the living room to his bedroom after he had fallen asleep in the worst-affected region of their hamlet outside Talat N’Yaaqoub. A new academic year was about to begin for him.

Suleiman’s father, Brahim Aytnasr, whose eyes were red from crying, said, “As she came back, the earthquake happened and the ceiling was destroyed and fell on him.” On Monday, he had been sifting through the rubble of his home, hoping to find some useful stuff.

Twenty-year-old Mouath, another son, escaped through the kitchen’s collapsed ceiling.

Spanish rescuer Antonio Nogales of the humanitarian group Bomberos Unidos Sin Fronteras (United Firefighters Without Borders) captured scenes from the outlying town of Imi N’Tala, showing men and dogs scrambling over steep slopes buried with rubble.

Nogales, at a loss for words, described the extent of destruction as “absolute.” “Not a single structure has maintained its stability.”

He said rescuers searching with dogs were keeping their fingers crossed despite the extent of the destruction.

We believe there may still be individuals in the fallen structures, that there may have been pockets of air, and as I say, we never lose up hope, so I am confident that there will be rescues in the next days, as he put it.

Tent camps formed in some areas where people were ready to spend a fourth night outside on Monday, suggesting that search and rescue activities had picked up the pace after an initial reaction that was criticized as overly slow by some survivors.

Moroccan news source 2M filmed a military aircraft delivering aid to displaced households by dropping bundles of supplies from the sky.

Authorities have not released any estimates for the number of individuals missing because much of the seismic zone is in inaccessible places

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