The death toll from a powerful earthquake that hit Morocco has risen to 820, Morocco’s Interior Ministry said on Saturday according to state news agency MAP.

At least 629 others were injured, including 51 seriously wounded, in the quake that rattled several provinces in the North African country late on Friday.

In the province of Al Haouz, 290 fatalities have been registered, according to the ministry, but the figure is likely to rise.

The quake also destroyed several buildings in the affected areas, an Interior Ministry official said without giving specific figures.

The Moroccan army and local authorities continue to use all their sources to offer the necessary assistance and assess damage in the stricken areas, MAP quoted the unnamed official as saying.

Initially, the Interior Ministry said at least 296 people had been killed due to the quake and 153 others injured.

A magnitude-6.8 earthquake rocked Morocco at 11 pm on Friday (2200 GMT), the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The quake occurred around 70 kilometres southwest of the Moroccan city of Marrakesh at a depth of 18.5 kilometres, according to USGS.

Nasser Jabour, director of the National Institute of Geophysics, told MAP that the quake had been felt in several cities within 400 kilometres of the epicentre.

“It is the first time in a century that the institute has recorded a violent earthquake of this kind in Morocco,” he said.

The quake was followed by hundreds of aftershocks, Jabour said.

The earthquake caused panic among residents in Marrakesh, Agadir and other cities and was also felt in Rabat and Casablanca, local newspaper Le Matin reported.

Hospitals in Marrakesh called on people to donate blood, while there were still people believed to be trapped beneath the rubble, Moroccan media reported.

Moroccan television broadcasts showed buildings reduced to rubble and damage to the famous red walls that surround parts of Marrakesh’s historic area.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose country suffered devastating earthquakes earlier this year, was among the many world leaders expressing sympathy and support for Morocco.

“We stand by our Moroccan brothers and sisters with all our resources on this difficult day,” Erdoğan wrote in a post on social media. He expressed regret for the dead and wished a speedy recovery to those injured.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also expressed his condolences to Morocco following the deadly earthquake.

“This is terrible news from Morocco,” Scholz posted on X, formerly Twitter.

“In these difficult hours, our thoughts are with the victims of the devastating earthquake. Our condolences go out to everyone affected by this natural disaster.”

Scholz is currently in New Delhi for a G20 summit in the Indian capital.

European Union leaders said the bloc stands ready to support Morocco.

“My thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy and the rescuers involved in the search operation,” European Council President Charles Michel wrote on X, formerly Twitter. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed similar support.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also offered condolences to Morocco.

The last major earthquake to strike the country occurred in 2004 when a 6.4-magnitude earthquake killed more than 600 people.