26 March 2011
YANGON - AT LEAST 75 people were killed after a strong earthquake struck Myanmar near its border with Thailand, a Myanmar official said on Friday.
Tremors were felt as far away as Bangkok, almost 800km from the epicentre, Hanoi and parts of China during the earthquake on Thursday, which the US Geological Survey (USGS) measured at magnitude 6.8.
A Myanmar official said 74 people were killed and 110 were injured in five areas close to the epicentre. More than 240 buildings had collapsed.
'We are trying to reach the remote areas,' the official said. 'The military, police and local authorities are trying to find some people injured in those affected areas but the roads are still closed.'
Across the border, Thai authorities said a 52-year-old woman was killed in Mae Sai district after a wall in her house collapsed.
Terrified residents across the region fled their homes, tall buildings swayed and hospitals and schools were evacuated.
In Yangon Chris Herink, Myanmar country director for the charity World Vision, said there did not appear to be 'catastrophic infrastructure damage' in the affected areas of Kengtung and Tachileik, although buildings were cracked and water supplies disrupted in some parts.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) initially recorded the quake as magnitude 7.0, but later revised it down to 6.8. A powerful aftershock was later measured at magnitude 5.4. The epicentre was close to the borders with Thailand and Laos and was just 10km deep. -- AFP
QUAKE FELT IN BANGKOK, YUNNAN, HANOI
The quake struck 90km north of Chiang Rai and 235km north-north-east of Chiang Mai, Thailand's second city and a popular tourist destination. Tall buildings shuddered in Bangkok during the tremor.
In China, villagers around 40km the Myanmar border in the south-western province of Yunnan said buildings swayed for over a minute during the quake, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
More than 350 students and teachers were evacuated from a school in Menghai County, Yunnan, after the building developed cracks, Xinhua said.
People in the southern Chinese city of Nanning, nearly 900km from the epicentre, fled buildings when they felt tremors, Xinhua said. No casualties were reported in China.
In central Hanoi - in Vietnam, away from the epicentre - the quake was felt as a smooth rocking motion that lasted for several seconds. Some Hanoi residents fled their homes in a panic, but there were no immediate reports of damage.
The quake comes two weeks after Japan was hit by a monster earthquake, which unleashed a devastating tsunami that left around 27,000 people dead or missing and triggered a crisis at its Fukushima nuclear plant. -- AFP
Source: The Straits Times