Laos earthquake hits northern province

Laos earthquake hits northern province

Locals frightened as buildings sway

An earthquake in Laos caused damage in neighbouring Nan province yesterday morning, with reports of cracks appearing in walls and collapsed roofs, mainly in Bo Klua and Chalerm Prakiat districts. No injuries or deaths were reported.

The 6.1-magnitude shock hit near the border in Laos just before 7am. Residents in several provinces in the North and Northeast were woken by the ground shaking. Tall buildings were reported seen swaying in Bangkok.

In Laos, employees of the Hongsa Power plant in Xayaboury province were placed on full alert for quake damage, company executive Khathayut Chuphun said.

The epicentre was recorded at a depth of 3 kilometres and about 19km southeast of Nam Chang village in tambon Khunnan, Chalerm Prakiat district, in Nan province.

At 6.50am, the quake struck, the division reported.

About the same time, in Nan province, cracks appeared in walls and roofs and ceilings were reported damaged in Bo Klua and Chalerm Prakiat districts. Local leaders in the two northern border districts assessed the damage and compiled reports.

A border patrol police school roof partially collapsed in Bo Klua district. Cracks were found in walls at the front of the building and at the teachers' living quarters. Management closed the school for the day.

Cracks were also found in a wall of the ordination hall of 500-year-old Wat Phra That Khao Noi, a hilltop temple.

Phra Mahacharan Sirithammo, the abbot, said he felt the ground shaking and monks and novices fled from the buildings into the temple yard.

Broken windows were seen at a branch of the Government Savings Bank in Tha Wang Pha district.

Witthaya Khanthayos, chief civil engineer of the 7th Fine Arts Office in Nan, said engineers were checking for damage at 25 registered historical places in the northern province.

Col Rattana Pattanasophon, commander of the army's 32nd ranger special task force, said his soldiers were assisting with the damage survey and repairs.

In Phayao, residents reported feeling the quake this morning, but there were no early reports of damage.

In Phitsanulok province, Vorawut Niamnoi, director of Kwai Noi Barung Daen dam, said the quake was felt in the area, but the dam appeared unscathed.

The dam was designed to withstand earthquakes with a magnitude of 7, he said. Even so, a thorough survey would be made of the structure.

In Khon Kaen province, the tremor led to patients being evacuated from Ratchaphreuk Hospital in Muang district as a precaution.

They were accommodated in the parking area.

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