Aftershocks rattle Myanmar
- Published: 11/11/2012 at 03:06 PM
- Online news:
SHWEBO, Myanmar : A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Myanmar Sunday evening, hours after a stronger, 6.8 tremor killed at least 13 people and injured 40, witnesses and the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.
A man sits under the Radana Thinga Bridge over the Irrawaddy River, still under construction, after it collapsed following Sunday morning's 6.8-magnitude earthquake near Singgu Township. (Reuters Photo)
The USGS said the quake Sunday night occurred at a depth of nine km (5.6 miles), 86km (54 miles) north-northwest of the central city of Mandalay. Reporters near the town of Shwebo felt the new tremor.
There was no immediate information on whether the latest quake caused further deaths or major damage.
In the early hours of Monday USGS said that another quake, with a magnitude of 5.6, had struck. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
A shallow 6.8 magnitude quake early in the morning hit a rural area 116km north of Mandalay and was followed by strong aftershocks.
Four labourers flung into the Irrawaddy river from a partly-built bridge near the town of Shwebo were among those believed to have died, according to a situation report from the Save the Children charity.
The collapse of a monastery in the nearby village of Kyauk Myaung killed two people and one died in Mandalay, it said. A further six were killed in Sint Ku township, including two people who died when a gold mine collapsed.
Residents of Mandalay fled shaking buildings in terror after the morning tremor, although no major damage was reported there.
The pre-dawn stronger morning quake sparked panic in the major central city of Mandalay, residents and aid workers said.
Witnesses at the site of the bridge collapse described how the quake caused a crane that was supporting the structure to topple.
"The ropes could not hold the body of the bridge and it collapsed onto ships on the river below. The steel frames fell onto the boats, which then sank into the water," ferry driver Aung Naing Linn, 45, told AFP.
"People jumped from the boats into the water. It did not take long for the ships to sink, just two or three minutes," he said.
An official from Myanmar's Relief and Resettlement Department confirmed a death toll of seven so far, with four still considered missing from the bridge construction site.
Save the Children, which has an office in Mandalay, said reports indicated that 25 were injured in the bridge collapse on the Irrawaddy, with 10 taken to hospital.
It said 20 people were thought to have been hospitalised in Shwebo and a further 10 were being treated in Mandalay.
The aid group said monasteries in several areas had been affected, including in Amarapura, a former royal capital popular with tourists.
In Mandalay, residents fled shaking homes and hotels in terror.
"I ran from my bed carrying my daughter out to the street. There were many people in the road. Some were shouting and others felt dizzy," Mandalay resident San Yu Kyaw told AFP by telephone.
No major damage was reported in the city, although construction standards are generally poor in the country formerly known as Burma, one of Asia's most impoverished nations.
A large crack stretching from the second to the sixth floor of Mandalay's highest building, the 25-storey Mann Myanmar Plaza, appeared after the quake, a local resident said.
A powerful earthquake that struck central Myanmar early Sunday left at least 13 dead (five men and one woman) and 40 injured, as the tremor sparked panic in the city of Mandalay.
The shallow 6.8-magnitude quake hit around 116 kilometres north of Mandalay at a depth of just 10 kilometres, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said. It initially put the magnitude of the quake at 7.0.
It was following by three large aftershocks registered at 5.0, 5.0 and 5.8 between 1:30am and 11am Sunday, said the USGS. The USGS said all four registered quakes occurred about 10km underground.
Mandalay : A man looks at the facade of Mandalay's highest building, the 25-storey Mann Myanmar Plaza, from where several window panes are missing after they fell following a 6.8-magnitude quake which hit some 116 kilometres (72 miles) north of the northern Myanmar city on November 11, 2012. (AFP photo)
"I ran from my bed carrying my daughter out to the street. There were many people in the road. Some were shouting and others felt dizzy," Mandalay resident San Yu Kyaw said by telephone.
"People are now scared of more earthquakes. Especially those who live or run businesses in high-rise buildings are desperate and don't know what to do," he said.
As usual, the Myanmar government struggled with credibility. As numerous sources reported a rising death toll, the government claimed only two people were killed.
Canton News reported last Sundday afternoon that the death toll had risen to 21 people, while local media said the number of dead was "at least" 14.
Construction standards are generally poor in the country formerly known as Burma, one of Asia's most impoverished countries.
A large crack stretching from the second to the sixth floor of Mandalay's highest building, the 25-storey Mann Myanmar Plaza, appeared after the quake, a local resident told AFP.
He said people were afraid to enter the structure and it remains closed.
The USGS issued a yellow alert, saying "some casualties and damage are possible" but that the impact should be relatively localised.
In Bangkok, many people living in high-rise buildings said they felt the tremor about 8am but there were no reports of damage.
As for the two major dams in Kanchanaburi province, which shares a border with Myanmar, officials said the earthquake had no adverse impacts on the Srinakarin and Vajiralongkorn dams.
Boon-in Chuenchavalit and Vanich Saengsuwan, directors of the two dams run by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), said both dams are sturdy and can withstand a strong quake.
They said the two dams have been very well maintained and regularly checked to ensure their strength with internationally-recognised measures.
The last security check on Vajiralongkorn Dam was conducted on July 21, 2010 and Srinakarin Dam on Jan 26, 2011.
The Meteorological Department reported that the epicentre of the earthquake was about 450 kilometres west of Mae Hong Son, on the Thai-Myanmar border, .
Myanmar sits on fault lines where the India and Eurasia tectonic plates meet.
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