Four students studying abroad in Morocco safe and accounted for, Mississippi university official confirms

Published 8:00 am Thursday, September 14, 2023

Four Mississippi college students who are studying abroad in Morocco are safe and accounted for after a deadly earthquake struck the region Friday.

The Daily Mississippian reports that University of Mississippi officials have confirmed the safety of the four students who were in the region after the 6.8 magnitude earthquake.

“We have four UM students in Morocco right now studying in the Arabic Capstone Year program in Meknes, Morocco.  All four are safe and accounted for,” Blair White, senior international officer and the director of the school’s study abroad program, told the Daily Mississippian.

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Meknes, the country’s sixth largest city in northern Morocco, was not impacted by Friday’s earthquake that killed thousands of people and devasted the area around the Al Haouz region.

White said the safety of the students was reported almost immediately after the earthquake because of  the “wonderful Arabic Flagship partners both on campus and off campus.”

The epicenter was high in the Atlas Mountains, about 44 miles south of Marrakech in Al Haouz province. The region is largely rural — made up of red-rock mountains, picturesque gorges and glistening streams and lakes. The earthquake shook most of Morocco and caused injury and death in other provinces, including Marrakech, Taroudant and Chichaoua.

Of the 2,946 deaths reported as of Wednesday, 1,684 were in Al Haouz, a region with a population of around 570,000, according to Morocco’s 2014 census.

In certain villages such as Tafeghaghte, residents say more than half the population died. The United Nations has estimated that 300,000 people were affected by Friday night’s temblor.

Most of the dead have already been buried. The government reports 2,501 injuries.