IANS

The death toll from the devastating earthquake in Morocco -- - the country's deadliest in 60 years -- has increased to 2,901, with 5,530 injured persons, according to the latest statement released by the government.

In Ouirgane in the Atlas Mountains, one of the hardest-hit villages in the mountainous areas, Xinhua news agency reporters saw all the houses flattened and rescue teams using excavators to clear the debris.

Ouirgane suffered major losses in the earthquake, with buildings destroyed and most residents are now either sleeping in tents or have left the village.

Morocco has accepted offers of aid from Spain, Britain, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, while the help offers from other countries are pending approval.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Tuesday launched an emergency appeal for 100 million Swiss francs ($112 million) to support the victims.

The most pressing needs at this time are water, sanitation, and shelter, Caroline Holt, global director of operations at IFRC, told reporters in Geneva.

"We need to make sure that we avoid a second wave of disaster," she said.

Rescue and relief efforts are continuing to access the hardest-hit mountainous regions.

However, there is still a shortage in the supply of gasoline and covers.

The 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit the High Atlas mountains south of Marrakesh at 11.11 p.m. on September 8 at a depth of 18.5 km.  

The powerful temblor has led to the destruction of many rural and remote villages, including Tafeghaghte has had its population of 200 people nearly halved, and many are still missing.

The World Health Organization said more than 300,000 people had been affected by the earthquake, the deadliest in Morocco since a 1960 temblor destroyed Agadir, killing 12,000 to 15,000 people.

The Tinmel Mosque, a historic site in the mountains, has been severely damaged, and Marrakesh's old city, a World Heritage Site has suffered collapsed buildings.

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