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France says it can help Morocco after earthquake, awaiting Rabat's request

Aftermath of an earthquake in Morocco

By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS (Reuters) -France said on Sunday it is ready to help Morocco after a powerful earthquake killed over 2,000 people, and is awaiting a formal request for assistance.

"France is ready to offer its aid to Morocco if Morocco decides it is useful," President Emmanuel Macron said during a news conference at the G20 Summit in New Delhi.

"Moroccan authorities know exactly what can be delivered, the nature (of what can be delivered) and the timing...We are at their disposal. We did everything we could do.... The second they request this aid, it will be deployed," he added.

France was among nations offering help following the quake, which struck on Friday evening and hit villages in the High Atlas mountains and also damaged the city of Marrakech.

The French ambassador to Morocco, Christophe Lecourtier, told BFM television on Sunday evening that Moroccan authorities were "taking into consideration" French offers to send search and rescue teams and emergency medical aid.

"We have all reasons to believe that in a few hours or tomorrow this aid will be requested," he said.

Four French citizens were among those who died in the quake, and 15 were injured, the Foreign Ministry said in an update on French casualties on Sunday afternoon.

One man died of a heart attack in Agadir during the quake while a young couple died when the house they were in collapsed near Marrakech and a fourth person died in a village south of Marrakech, Lecourtier told BFM.

(Reporting by Dominique VidalonEditing by Elaine Hardcastle and Frances Kerry)