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Friday, March 25, 2011

Estimated 74 dead and over a hundred injured after 6.8 earthquake hits Burma


Disaster: At least 74 people were killed when a strong earthquake struck Myanmar, officials said, with fears that the toll would rise

Quake was felt in Thai and Vietnamese capitals

Four-year-old boy killed in mountain town where earthquake hit

UN sending relief teams to affected areas

A strong earthquake that toppled homes in north eastern Burma has killed over 70 people, and there were fears today the toll would mount as conditions in more remote areas became known.

Last night's quake, measured at a magnitude 6.8 by the US Geological Survey, was centred just north of the town Tachileik in the mountains along the Thai border, but was felt hundreds of miles away in the Thai capital Bangkok and Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Burmese state radio later put the death toll at 74 people with at least 111 injured and officials are concerned that the damage could be even worse in rural areas.

Reduced to rubble: The damage caused to a building by the 6.8-magnitude earthquake in Tachilek, near the Thai border, Myanmar

UN officials said medicine would be sent to the affected areas as soon as possible along with an assessment team in co-operation with the Myanmar Red Cross Society.

Most of rural Burma, one of Asia's poorest countries, is underdeveloped, with poor communications and other infrastructure, and minimal rescue and relief capacity. The country's military government is also usually reluctant to release information about disasters because it is sensitive to any criticism.

The government tightly controls information, and in 2008 delayed reporting on - and asking for help with - devastating Cyclone Nargis, which killed 130,000 people. The junta was widely criticised for what were called inadequate preparations and a slow response to the disaster.

A Thai Buddhist monk looks on a collapsed 800-year-old pagoda damage caused by the earthquake at Wat Chedi Luang temple, Chiang Saen district, Chiang Rai province near the Thai-Myanmar border

Thai residents sleep outside the city hall after being evacuated due to a 6.8-magnitude earthquake in the Chiang Rai province

In Mae Sai, one woman was killed when a wall fell on her, according to Thai police, but damage was otherwise minimal.

Somchai Hatayatanti, the governor of Chiang Rai province, said dozens of people suffered minor injuries on the Thai side of the border. Cracks were found in buildings in downtown Chiang Rai city, about 55 miles from the epicentre, including a provincial hospital and city hall. The tops of the spires fell off from at least two Buddhist temples.
As a precaution for aftershocks, a relief centre was being set up in Mae Sai.

Chinese people standing outdoor to evade the aftershock at midnight when the earthquake happened, in downtown Jinghong city which is a Chinese border city beside Myanmar

Ruined: A soldier is photographed by a building toppled by the earthquake

source: dailymail


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