Quake Hits Myanmar near Northern Thailand

Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 12:10 PM

 

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CHIANG MAI, Thailand - A large 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Myanmar near the border with northern Thailand on Thursday, killing one woman, police and witnesses said.

Witnesses said the tremors were felt in Bangkok, central Myanmar and as far away as the Vietnam capital of Hanoi where people were evacuated from tall buildings.

Police said a 53-year-old woman in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, had been killed when one wall of her house collapsed. Hospital officials said there were no other deaths or injuries reported.

The quake was centered 111 km (69 miles) north of the town of Chiang Rai, Thailand's northernmost province.

"In my 40 years, I never felt an earthquake this strong. A glass broke and I had to hold on to a pillar," Thanawan Sisukniyom, a retired teacher in Mai Sai, told Reuters by telephone.

Witnesses in Chiang Mai, the country's second-largest city, reported no immediate damage, but said the earthquake was felt strongly.

A witness in the Myanmar town of Tachilek, which borders Chiang Rai, said parked motorcycles fell to the ground and cracks were seen in the road.

TPBS television said electricity was cut off in parts of Mae Sai. The earthquake was shallow at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 km).

Chiang Rai province is a sparsely populated, hilly area that forms part of the famous "Golden Triangle", known for growth of illicit opium and where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet.

Somchai Baimuang, deputy director of the Thai meteorological department, urged the public not to panic.

"It's too soon to tell if there is any damage," he told Reuters. "Aftershocks are possible in the next two days."

Residents left their homes in the Myanmar capital Naypyitaw and the biggest city, Yangon. No deaths or injuries were reported.

"Many people fled their homes and laid down on the ground outside away from the buildings. We are still sitting on the ground since there are several aftershocks," a resident in Kentung, 50 miles west of the epicentre, told Reuters by telephone.

"In some buildings, TV sets fell off the tables and shrine altars fell down. I don't know anything about the casualties but I think there will be a lot of damage to properties," he added

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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