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Saturday, March 26, 2011

At Least 74 People Have Died in Quake PHOTOS VIDEO UPDATE: 6.8 Earthquake Hits NE Myanmar 1 dead, Quake felt in as far away as Bangkok

At least 74 people are known to have died in a 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Myanmar on Thursday.




Survivors struggle in remote Myanmar quake areas

by Soe Than Win Sat Mar 26, 2011
TARLAY, Myanmar (AFP) – Survivors surveyed the wreckage of their Myanmar villages on Saturday as details of an earthquake that left 75 dead and reduced homes to rubble began to trickle out of remote areas.
The powerful 6.8 magnitude quake struck in the east of the country near the borders with Thailand and Laos late on Thursday and was felt as far away as the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.
Tachileik town and nearby Tarlay and Mong Lin in Myanmar's Shan state appeared to have been most severely affected by the quake, which flattened hundreds of houses and toppled monasteries and government buildings.
In Tarlay a few rescue teams were seen picking through the rubble of buildings, a bridge was destroyed and the roads were riven with huge cracks.
"The whole village is gone," said Nan Myint, tearfully explaining that she had lost her father, nephew and sister-in-law in the quake, which happened while she was in Yangon.
"I came back as soon as I heard about the earthquake. Some of my relatives are still in the hospital in Tachileik," she told AFP, adding authorities have supported her with a 350,000 kyats (about $400) payment.
"I have no idea what we should do in the future because my house is totally destroyed. I do not want to stay here."
The charity World Vision, which said around 15,000 people could have been affected in the worst-hit areas, is sending in first aid kits and tarpaulins to give emergency shelter for up to 2,500 families.
"This is an immediate concern as even last night there was rain," said Chris Herink, Myanmar country director in Yangon.
A Myanmar official said there had been no official increase in the toll from Friday's figure of 74. One woman was also killed in Thailand.
"There might be some places we still cannot reach because of the communication and transportation problems. The death toll could rise," the official added.
Strong aftershocks continued into Saturday.
A motorcycle taxi driver in Tachileik told AFP that things were "calm" in the town. "We were frightened in the beginning, but now we are trying to get back to normal," he said.
The region affected was already difficult to reach before the quake, access to the area by foreigners is restricted and the military dominated government tends to keep a tight grip on information.
The ruling junta was widely criticised for refusing foreign assistance for weeks after cyclone Nargis wrought devastation across the Irrawaddy Delta in May 2008, leaving more than 138,000 people either killed or missing.
But Herink said his organisation, which is working in the affected areas with the Myanmar Red Cross and UNICEF, had found the government had been "proactively seeking our assistance and providing information to us".
A report by authorities in Tarlay, translated by the charity, described the emergency response, with soldiers helping to rescue people within the first hours.
The social welfare relief and resettlement minister went to Tachileik from the capital Naypyidaw on Saturday.
But one Tachileik resident, posting anonymously on an Internet forum, expressed frustration with the authorities, describing the town as "ruined".
"I hope there is not another earthquake because our situation is not very good as we cannot get any concrete assistance from the authorities."
Many people were getting their news from Thai radio, rather than sources in the country, while state media appeared keen to downplay the disaster, with the first mention of the earthquake on page 11 in Saturday's New Light of Myanmar.
"We never expected this kind of natural disaster... That is why I worry for my people," said Sai Thein Aung, a Shan Nationalities Democratic Party member of parliament for Tachileik.
The United States expressed its condolences, while Thailand donated money and said it was ready to offer additional assistance.


6.8-magnitude quake strikes NE Myanmar; 1 dead

March 24, 2011

ANGON, Myanmar – A powerful earthquake struck northeastern Myanmar on Thursday night, killing one woman and shaking buildings as far away as Bangkok. No tsunami was generated.
The quake hit in an area where Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) from Chiang Rai. The northern Thai city sustained minor damage, according to Thai television.
A woman in an area north of Chiang Rai, just two miles (four kilometers) from the border, died when a brick wall collapsed on her, according to police Capt. Weerapon Samranjai.
"It was like somebody was running on the roof. Everybody was in a panic. They came out of their houses and wondered what happened," said Maj. Gen. Mongkol Sampawapon, a police chief from another district near Chiang Rai.
There were no immediate reports of damage from the Myanmar side, a remote area where communications, even in the best of times, are difficult. The country's military-controlled government also tightly controls information.
The 6.8-magnitude quake was just six miles (10 kilometers) deep, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. At that strength and depth, it said 600,000 people could feel shaking anywhere from strong to violent. It added that since buildings in the area are considered vulnerable, moderate to very heavy damage could be expected.
Buildings swayed in Bangkok, about 480 miles (770 kilometers) south of the epicenter.
Max Jones, an Australian resident of the Thai capital, was in his 27th-floor apartment when his building started shaking so hard he had to grab the walls to keep from falling.
"It was bloody scary, I can tell you," he said. Jones said he could see people running in the streets.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quake was located too far inland to create a destructive wave.


Magnitude 6.8 - MYANMAR

2011 March 24 13:55:12 UTC

Versión en Español

Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Location20.705°N, 99.949°E
Depth10 km (6.2 miles)
Distances89 km (55 miles) N of Chiang Rai, Thailand
168 km (104 miles) SSW of Yunjinghong, Yunnan, China
589 km (365 miles) NE of Rangoon, Myanmar
772 km (479 miles) N of BANGKOK, Thailand
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 15.4 km (9.6 miles); depth +/- 5.8 km (3.6 miles)
ParametersNST=109, Nph=109, Dmin=234.9 km, Rmss=0.88 sec, Gp= 36°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=C
Event IDusc0002aes


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