Japanese engineer: Morocco buildings no stronger since 2004 quake

A Japanese architectural engineer who surveyed the damage after an earthquake in northern Morocco 19 years ago says the buildings there have not gotten any more quake resistant since then.

The US Geological Survey says an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 struck central Morocco late Friday evening local time.

In 2004, a magnitude 6.5 tremblor hit the northern part of the country.

Enomoto Takahisa, a professor at Japan's Kanagawa University, conducted an on-site survey at the time.

He gave his assessment of the damage from the latest quake after viewing video of the devastation. He said the buildings in mountainous areas that had completely collapsed were built in the traditional way with sun-dried mudbricks.

Buildings in more densely populated communities avoided total collapse, but their walls had crumbled.

Enomoto noted that reinforced concrete had been used only for pillars and crossbeams, but the walls were built with stones and bricks.

Enomoto said he'd seen the same damage after the 2004 quake.

He added that although big cities now have more modern buildings, there are still many substandard structures outside cities, which increased the number of casualties.

He warned the same devastation could occur unless the government, researchers and engineers work together to make buildings more quake resistant.