(BBC) More than 600 people have died after a powerful earthquake struck central Morocco, according to the country’s interior ministry

The quake – measuring magnitude 6.8 – sent people rushing into the streets in Marrakesh and other cities

Many of the deaths were said to be in hard-to-reach mountain areas – and at least 153 people were injured

It struck just after 23:00 local time, at a relatively shallow depth 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh, according to the US Geological Survey

Unverified video clips on X (formerly Twitter) show damaged buildings and rubble-strewn streets

The number of casualties is expected to rise still further after the earthquake which is said to have hit a third of the country.

Reports say there are big difficulties in reaching remote villages in the Atlas Mountains which were hit severely by the earthquake.

People sleep on the street to avoid being crushed in buildings

It may take days before rescuers are able to reach those villages which are mainly made up of old buildings.

Even people in the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco and in Algeria, its eastern neighbour, say they felt the quake.

We have seen scenes of shocked people fleeing their homes and escaping on to the streets of Marrakesh.

And we have heard that the ancient walls of the city have been affected by the quake too.

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