JUST IN: Death toll rises to 820
The death toll for the Morocco earthquake has risen to 820, with 672 people injured, Morocco’s state television Al Aoula said, citing the Interior Ministry. There are 205 people in critical condition, Al Aoula added.
Friday night’s earthquake, whose epicenter was in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, was the strongest to hit the area in more than 120 years, according to the US Geological Survey. With a magnitude of 6.8, it is categorized as “strong” on the magnitude scale.
Earthquakes of this size in the region are uncommon, according to the USGS, but not unexpected. It noted that there have been nine quakes with a magnitude of 5 or higher since 1900, however none of them have had a magnitude higher than 6. On the scale, each increase of one whole number results in 32 times more strength.
Jonathan Stewart, a professor of civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, told CNN that while the quake was 30 times weaker than the 7.8 magnitude quake that hit Turkey earlier this year, it still released “a tremendous amount of energy” and was likely to do substantial damage.
Putin and Zelensky send condolences to Morocco
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have issued separate statements on Saturday sending condolences to Morocco amid the deadly earthquake.
“Our deepest condolences to HM King Mohammed VI and all Moroccans for the lives lost in the horrible earthquake in the Marrakech region,” Zelensky said in a Twitter post. “I wish those injured a fast recovery. Ukraine stands in solidarity with Morocco during this tragic time.”
Putin expressed a similar sentiment in a statement published on the Kremlin’s website: “Your Majesty, please accept my sincere condolences in connection with the tragic consequences of the devastating earthquake in the central regions of your country. Russia shares the experiences and grief of the friendly people of Morocco.”
Fuel marketers appeal to Tinubu, NNPC on turnaround of refineries
Independent Marketers branch of the National Union of Petroleum Marketers and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has appealed to President Bola Tinubu and the management of Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited to expedite action on the turnaround of the nation’s refineries. Its chairman, Comrade Oluleye Olayemi made the appeal on Friday while fielding questions from reporters shortly after he was re-elected for a second term.
He emerged unopposed alongside his other executive members during the 5th Quadrennial Branch Delegate Conference of the association which held at Jogor Event Centre, Liberty Road, Ibadan, the Oyo state capital. He noted that the turnaround of the refineries would help to reduce the hardship being faced by the fuel subsidy removal among the citizens. He disagreed with former President Olusegun Obasanjo whose views were made public recently on why the nation’s refineries may never work.
Olayemi said as much as the association supports subsidy removal, the government could have done it in phases after the refineries were made functional. He described as appalling the situation when someone would say the refineries cannot work. He said although there may be corruption in the system or process involved, with political will and sincerity, the government can see the turnaround of the refineries.
He lamented that his members are worst hit as Independent Marketers as well as due to the non-functionality of many depots across the country. He said: “The Branch is in support of the position of the Nigerian Labour and NUPENG National Executive Council on the deregulation policy of the oil and gas industry. “While the subsidy removal can be said to be a right decision the timing could have been deferred till the refineries become functional.
“The government should have built refineries in phases across the oil-producing states and gradually remove subsidies. We are badly affected by deregulation. We appeal to the government that they should expedite refineries turnaround and maintenance of our refineries. “We are badly affected as many marketers are not loading and that affected our members who could not attend. Without renovation of the depot, many people will be jobless”
Source: The Nation