Morocco’s Deadly Earthquake: Pope Francis Offers Country “prayerful communion”

Pope Francis gives his general audience address in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sept. 13, 2023. | Credit: Vatican Media

Pope Francis has offered Morocco “prayerful communion” following the Friday, September 8 deadly earthquake that, according to media reports, has left at least 1,300 people dead, and caused widespread damage in and around the Northern African nation’s city of Marrakesh.

In his Saturday, September 9 telegram message addressed to the victims of the earthquake in Morocco on behalf of the Holy Father, the Vatican Secretary of State says that Pope Francis “expresses his deep solidarity with those who are touched in their flesh and their hearts by this tragedy.”

“Having learned with pain the earthquake that violently struck Morocco, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes to express his prayerful communion in the face of this natural disaster,” says  Pietro Cardinal Parolin.

Cardinal Parolin adds that Pope Francis is saddened by the event and that “he prays for the souls of the dead, the healing of the wounded, and the consolation of those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and their homes.”

“The Holy Father requests the most high God to support the Moroccans in this ordeal and offers his encouragement to the civil authorities and the relief services,” the Vatican Secretary of State says, adding that the Holy Father “gladly calls upon all divine blessings as a guarantee of comfort.”


According to a BBC News report, the earthquake “struck at 23:11 local time (22:11 GMT) on Friday”, during which “tremors were felt in several areas of the country from Casablanca to Marrakesh, where many buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged.”

Other Moroccan provinces and municipalities affected by the quake include al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant, the country’s Ministry of Interior has been quoted as saying.

“In Marrakesh some buildings have collapsed and the damage is particularly severe in parts of the Medina, a Unesco World Heritage site,” the BBC News report indicates, and continues, “Dust could be seen surrounding the minaret of the historic Kutubiyya mosque, a major tourist attraction near the old city's main square, while the historic Jemaa el Fnaa mosque partly collapsed.”

Several agencies including the European Union (EU) Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid have expressed their closeness with Morocco following the earthquake.

“At this difficult time, we stand in solidarity with the people and authorities of Morocco and are ready to provide any needed support as requested,” the EU Commission says in a Saturday, September 9 Tweet.

More in Africa

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake measured a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 near the resort of Oukaïmedene, the biggest to hit the North African nation in 120 years, according to the Associated Press (AP).

In its earlier report, USGS reported that “significant casualties” were “likely” while “extensive damage is probable and the disaster is likely widespread.”

Pledges for humanitarian aid from abroad to assist the earthquake-stricken nation have been reported, with Israel reportedly expressing the desire to help “as much as is required”.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.