The latest toll reported after this story was filed is said to be 2000 killed

More than 800 people have been killed after a strong earthquake hit Morocco on Friday. With the magnitude of 7.2, the quake has left hundreds more injured, destroying buildings and sending residents of major cities rushing from their homes. According to the ministry, 820 people have lost their lives in the quake.

This is the country's deadliest tremor in more than six decades, Morocco’s Interior Ministry has said. The epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, is 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh, at a depth of 18.5km, the US Geological Survey said. The quake struck at 23:11 local time (22:11 GMT) on Friday. There was a 4.9 aftershock 19 minutes later.

According to Reuters, the officials have said that most deaths were in mountain areas that were hard to reach. Meanwhile, in Marrakech, the residents spent the night in the open as they were afraid to go home.

Buildings in the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, suffered damage. A mosque minaret had fallen in Jemaa al-Fna Square, the heart of Marrakech's old city. According to reports, rescue workers are digging through the rubble.

As reports of panicked families from outside the hospitals emerged, the Interior Ministry urged calm, saying in a televised statement that the quake had hit the provinces of Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant. Footage of the mediaeval city wall showed big cracks in one section and parts that had fallen, with rubble lying on the street.

Videos shared on social media of the immediate aftermath of the quake, showed people fearfully running out of a shopping centre, restaurants and apartment buildings and congregating outside.

Connectivity to the internet was disrupted in Marrakesh due to power cuts in the region after the devastating temblor, according to global internet monitor NetBlocks. The U.S. Geological Survey said that this was Morocco's deadliest earthquake since 1960 which had killed an estimated at least 12,000 people.

Tommaso Della Longa, the spokesperson at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has said that IFRC teams called “emergency response units” can be deployed to Morocco in 24 to 48 hours. “They are specialised in different activities, such as relief, water sanitation and healthcare,” he told Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, the Marrakesh Regional Blood Transfusion Centre has called for blood donations for the victims of the deadly earthquake. The institution appealed to all people in the city of Marrakesh to come to the centre to donate blood, starting from Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, governments around the world expressed solidarity and offered assistance. Turkey, where powerful earthquakes in February killed more than 50,000 people, said it was ready to provide support.

Al Jazeera, meanwhile, reported that the Israeli government announced that the ministries of foreign affairs and defence are preparing a large team to be sent to Morocco.

The foreign ministry also said that it is in contact with the authorities in Rabat and no Israeli casualties were recorded among the tourists in Morocco.

Leaders from all over the world expressed condolences for the people of Morocco.

India, which is currently hosting the G20 Summit, had Prime Minister Narendra Modi sharing his condolences with Morocco. “Before we start the proceedings of G20, I want to express my condolences over the loss of lives due to an earthquake in Morocco. We pray that all injured recover at the earliest. India is ready to offer all possible assistance to Morocco in this difficult time,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed his condolences to the “friendly people” of Morocco after the earthquake. “In Russia, we share the pain and the mourning of the friendly Moroccan people,” Putin said in a message to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, offering his “sincere condolences for the tragic consequences of the devastating earthquake.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez took to Twitter to share his condolences to relatives of the victims of a “terrible” earthquake in Morocco. “All my solidarity and support to the people of Morocco in the wake of this terrible earthquake … Spain is with the victims of this tragedy and its families,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“We are all devastated after the terrible earthquake in Morocco,” Macron posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “France stands ready to help with first aid,” France President Emmanuel Macron said.

The UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, said the country stands ready to support Morocco.

“My thoughts are with everyone affected by the terrible earthquake in Morocco last night. The UK stands ready to support our Moroccan friends,” he said.

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has also sent a “message of condolence”, Beijing’s state media reports. The official broadcaster CCTV quotes Xi as saying, “I am shocked to learn that a strong earthquake has occurred in your distinguished country, causing great casualties and property damage. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, I would like to express my deep grief for the victims and sincere condolences to the families.

“I trust that, under the leadership of His Majesty the King, the Moroccan government and people will be able to overcome the impact of this disaster and rebuild their homeland at an early date.”

Marrakech is due to host the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in early October.