Burma was jolted by a major earthquake today. 13 people have reportedly lost their lives along with several injured. The earthquake’s epicenter was in the center of the country, thus causing widespread damage to all of its surrounding areas in what is the strongest earthquake ever to hit the country.
The earthquake shook the country at 7:42 am local time with a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale. The epicenter is believed to be located 110 kilometers north from the city of Mandalay. The quake was followed by hosts of aftershocks.
The total magnitude of the damage is still unknown, although Vice President Sai Maul Hkam visited one of the affected towns, Thabeikyin, where a total of 102 private houses, 21 religious buildings, 48 government buildings and 4 schools were affected. The town is basically gold mining area and a total of three people lost their lives there, while 35 were injured. The death and injured toll was later increased to 6 and 64 respectively.
Televisions and radio stations issued warning to the people that usually such a major earthquake is followed by aftershocks and were instructed to stay away from cracked old buildings or high walls.
An admin officer confirmed that in the Sintku township, a total of six people had lost their lives, while 11 others were injured. That’s the biggest single death toll reported yet. He claimed that most of the dead were mine workers and that they died owing to the mine collapsing. He, however, chose to remain anonymous, as local officials are not allowed to release information.
Another report came from a place near the town of Shwebo, claiming that over four workers had lost their lives owing to the collapse of an under-construction bridge. Many workers are still missing, while 4 are presumed dead. It is also believed that a monastery has collapsed in the village of Sintku, killing several more in the process. The reports are not confirmed, however.
It is believed that Mandalay, which is Burma’s second largest city, has received no damage and the shocks of the quake are set to be felt as far as Bangkok, Thailand.
This earthquake comes just a week before the newly re-elected US Presidentis expected to visit the area. The underdeveloped country has only just come out of a military rule and has long been ignored by the West.