60 killed in Myanmar quake

2011-03-25 07:30

More than 60 people were killed and dozens injured after a strong earthquake struck Myanmar near its border with Thailand, an official said today, as some affected areas remained cut off.

Tremors were felt as far away as Bangkok, almost 800 kilometres from the epicentre, Hanoi and parts of China during the earthquake yesterday, which the US Geological Survey measured at magnitude 6.8.

A Myanmar official said dozens of people were killed in areas close to the epicentre and more than 240 buildings had collapsed.

“The death toll has increased to more than 60 now from those areas including Tarlay, Mine Lin and Tachileik townships,” said the official.

“About 90 people were injured from those areas. The officials are still trying to reach some more affected areas. There are some places we cannot reach yet.”

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 during the tremors.

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 areas.

“Of real concern though are the more rural areas. There will be more, I am afraid to say, unhappy information coming throughout the day,” he said.

“It is a hilly area near the border between Thailand and Laos, the so-called Golden Triangle. There is a lot of commerce that goes on in the area.”

World Vision has around 7 000 children sponsored by overseas donors in the affected areas.

“We want to ensure that they and their families are safe, secure and accounted for and to offer assistance to them as a first priority but also to help anyone in the area that has humanitarian needs,” he said.

The quake struck 90 kilometres north of Chiang Rai and 235 kilometres north-northeast of Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second city and a popular tourist destination.

Thailand’s meteorological department today said it had registered six large aftershocks following the initial quake.

Residents in Chiang Rai city raced from their homes again on Friday morning as a large tremor again shook the ground.

Four pagodas in the historic town of Chiang Saen near the northern Thai border were damaged, including Chedi Luang, where its three-metre long pinnacle crashed to the ground.

The shaking was felt throughout China’s southwest province of Yunnan, according to state-run China National Radio, but no casualties or structural collapses had been reported as of this morning.

However, the earthquake reportedly caused cracks in some homes and schools in and around the rugged Xishuangbanna region which borders Myanmar, and fear of aftershocks forced many people in the area to spend the night outdoors.

Some residents of the Vietnamese capital Hanoi fled their homes when the quake shook the city.

Le Huy Minh, assistant director of the national Global Geophysics Institute in the capital, reported no victims or damage.

“There was big panic among the local residents,” as high buildings shook for half a minute, said Nguyen Thai Son, of the institute’s office in northwestern Dien Bien town, 350 kilometres from the epicentre.

But he added there were “neither victims nor material losses here”.

Laos government spokesperson Khenthong Nuanthasing said there had been no reports of casualties in his country from the earthquake.

“In Vientiane it was not strong,” he said.

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.

Myanmar and Japan sit on different tectonic plates, separated by the vast Eurasian plate.

No tsunami warning was issued after the Myanmar quake as US seismologists said it was too far inland to generate a devastating wave in the Indian Ocean.

The geological survey initially recorded the quake as magnitude 7.0, but later revised it down to 6.8.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.