Médecins sans frontières (MSF)

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Morocco late yesterday evening local time in the High Atlas mountains, reportedly causing at least 820 deaths and 670 injuries. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is sending teams to assess needs in this region. Avril Benoît, executive director of MSF-USA, gave the following statement today:

"We are saddened by the tragic news of the earthquake in Morocco and the growing number of reported victims. MSF does not have an established presence in the country but is making contacts with local authorities, in order to send our emergency medical and humanitarian teams to assess needs and provide support if needed.

"Local people are the key to the initial response, when searching for survivors is vital. Earthquake survivors often require medical care such as surgery or dialysis, which can be a challenge when local health systems are affected by a disaster. Restoring health services and providing essential supplies also can be a priority at this stage. Our response will depend on the needs that are assessed on site."

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).