Fifteen dead in food aid stampede in Morocco

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At least 15 people died and five others injured in a stampede during distribution of food aid in Morocco's southern province of Essaouira, according to Moroccan state TV channel 2M.

A hospital source put the death toll at 18, adding that most victims were women who had been scrambling for food handed out by a rich man in the small coastal town of Sidi Boulaalam. The aid was being distributed by a private charity.

Medical workers have said that the information about the number of casualties is preliminary and that the victims were mostly women.

Ten people are injured after a crush which happened near to Essaouira, as a crowd of around 800 formed to receive food aid.

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He said: "This year there were lots of people, several hundred people".

An investigation is under way to determine the circumstances of the incident, officials said. People shoved, they broke down the barriers.

An unverified video shot by a bystander before the incident showed a large crowd gathered at the open-air market, waiting for the food distribution.

Teacher Manar Khouda said previous distributions also triggered stampedes, and there were only four police officers on hand this year.

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