Nov. 19 (UPI) -- At least 15 people were killed during a stampede at a food distribution event in Morocco on Sunday.
Up to 40 people were also injured when a large crowd rushed to receive food being distributed by a local association in the commune of Sidi Boulalam in the Essaouira province.
Ambulances arrived on the scene to transport injured people to a regional hospital for treatment and an investigation has been opened to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Local media reported a "benefactor" had begun a distribution at a stall when a crowd of about 800 people, mostly women, "rapidly submerged" the area, Sky News said.
Morocco's Ministry of Interior issued a statement announcing King Mohammed VI has instructed Moroccan authorities to provide necessary aid to the families of the victims.
The king will "personally cover the costs of victims' funerals and burials, and the care of the injured."