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Earthquake: too close for comfort

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Last night’s earthquake did not occur in some far distant land. It was close enough to sway high-rise Bangkok buildings, causing panic among some city residents. (Updated) 

A woman cleans up after the quake hit downtown Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai. CHOKNITI KHOOSUWAN

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Afternoon update

Burma quake death toll tops 60

A Thai Buddhist monk with a collapsed 800-year-old pagoda damaged in the quake near the border with Burma. Photograph: Chaichan Chaimun/EPA

More than 60 people were killed and 90 injured when a strong earthquake struck Burma near its border with Thailand, an official said Friday, as some affected areas remained cut off.

The earthquake on Thursday, which the US Geological Survey (USGS) measured at magnitude 6.8, was felt as far away as Bangkok, almost 800 kilometres from the epicentre, Hanoi and parts of China.

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

death toll – the number of people killed ยอดผู้เสียชีวิต
– hurt in an accident or attack ซึ่งได้รับบาดเจ็บ
(past form: struck) – to hit with great force ถั่งโถม, พัดกระหน่ำ
border – the official line separating two areas, regions or countries  เขตแดน อาณาเขต
US Geological Survey – a scientific agency of the United States government set up to study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it
magnitude – size or strength  ขนาดหรือ ความรุนแรง
epicentre – the point on the earth's surface where the effects of an earthquake are felt most strongly ศูนย์กลาง
collapse – to suddenly fall down ล้มลง

Click button to listen to Earthquake and rightclick to download

Earthquake, right here, right now

Just before 9 pm last evening, I was at my computer in the Ekamai area exchanging twitter messages when all of a sudden the mouse became very difficult to point accurately.

I soon noticed that our 26-storey condominium building was gently swaying and causing me to feel dizzy.

From past experience, I was quite sure what was happening.

“Is that an earthquake?,” I typed into my twitter account. “My condo is swaying.”

Within seconds I had confirmation from around Bangkok, Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai that the Earth had indeed been in motion.

We now know it was a very powerful 7-magnitude quake with its epicenter hundreds of kilometres away on a small fault line on the Burmese-Lao border. The quake occurred at 8.55pm and was 10.2 kilometres underground. A second, smaller quake occurred about 30 minutes later.

The quakes were felt most strongly  in Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phayao, Nan, Tak and Loei provinces.

A 55-year-old woman, Hong Khamping, was killed when a concrete wall collapsed on her in Chiang Rai province, where the tremors were strongest.

In Mae Hong Son, the quakes caused an electricity blackout throughout the province. Officials at Mae Hong Son Hospital fled in panic.

In Wiang Haeng district of Chiang Mai, a woman said she felt her bed roll from side to side. She ran out of her single-storey house in panic and stooped to the ground as the tremor was so strong. "The ground shook for about three minutes," the woman said.

Chaiwat Chanthimak, owner of Phu Aksorn publishing house in Loei's Chiang Kham district, said he thought his house was rolling. He said patients of the district hospital across the street gathered in the parking lot.

Here in Bangkok, the first quake caused panic among some high-rise residents.

About 50 residents of Ratchathewi Tower ran downstairs to gather in front of the building, while a condo's residents on Rama 3 Road reported that the building shook so hard that doors slammed.
Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post.

triathlon – a sporting event in which people compete in three different sports, usually swimming, cycling and running ไตรกีฬา, เป็นการเล่นกีฬาที่รวมเอา การว่ายน้ำ, ขี่จักรยาน, และวิ่งเข้าด้วยกัน
exchange – a situation where people give each other information การโต้ตอบ
twitter – a social networking website which allows users to send and receive very short messages called tweets.
all of a sudden – suddenly; quickly and unexpectedly อย่างกะทันหัน
point – to aim something at somebody/something เล็ง
accurately – correctly, exactly and without mistakes อย่างแม่นยำ
gentle – not strong or extreme เบาๆ, ค่อยๆ
sway – to move slowly from side to side; to move something in this way  แกว่งไปมา, โซเซ
dizzy – feeling as if everything is turning round and being unable to balance and about to fall down เวียนศีรษะ
confirmation – a statement, letter, etc. that shows that something is true, correct or definite การยืนยัน
in motion – moving เคลื่อนไหว
magnitude – size or strength  ขนาดหรือ ความรุนแรง
epicentre – the point on the earth's surface where the effects of an earthquake are felt most strongly ศูนย์กลาง
fault line – a fault (= break in the Earth's surface)  รอยเลื่อนของเปลือกโลก
border – the official line separating two areas, regions or countries  เขตแดน อาณาเขต
concrete – a hard substance used in building made by mixing cement, sand, small stones, and water คอนกรีต
wall – any of the vertical sides of a building or room; a long vertical solid structure, made of stone, brick or concrete, that surrounds, divides or protects an area of land ผนังห้อง;  กำแพง
collapse – to suddenly fall down ล้มลง
tremor – a shaking of the earth; an earthquake การสั่นสะเทือน
blackout – a sudden loss of electrical power ไฟดับ
fled (past of flee) – escaped; left an area very quickly because of a danger there หนีไป
panic – a sudden strong feeling of fear or worry that causes you to be unable to think clearly or calmly ความตื่นตกใจ
roll – to move smoothly (on wheels or as if on wheels); to make something do this โคลงเคลง, โอนเอน
stoop – to bend your body forwards and downwards ก้มตัวลง, ก้มลง, โค้งตัว
shake (past: shook) – to move or make somebody/something move with short quick movements from side to side or up and down ขย่า,  สั่น, ทำให้สั่น, สั่นสะเทือน
patient – someone who is receiving medical treatment คนป่วย, คนไข้
gather – to come together in a group รวมกลุ่ม, รวมตัวกัน, จับกลุ่มกัน, ชุมนุม
parking lot – parking lot – a place where motor vehicles are parked ลานจอดรถ, ที่จอดรถ
high-rise – a building is very tall with many floors or levels อาคาร ซึ่งมีหลายชั้น
residents – people who live in an area ผู้อาศัย
slam – to put, move, or hit something against or onto a surface with great force ตีเสียงดัง

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