Saturday, March 26, 2011

120 killed in Burma quake, death toll expected to rise



At least 120 people were confirmed dead by Red Cross officials while 111 were hurt when a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck Burma close to the border in Laos and Thailand on Thursday at 1355 GMT.
The US Geological Survey said the tremor that was felt 800 kilometers down south in Bangkok and Hanoi was centered about 110 kilometers (70 miles) from Thai's northern city of Chiang Rai, the BBC reported.
The death toll from the shallow quake whose depth was 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) is feared to climb much higher.
Among the damaged structures were nine state buildings, 14 Buddhist monasteries and 244 houses.
The Tachileik town and surrounding Shan state appear to have been the most hit areas.
Roads and rice fields have cracks and were wrecked by rising silt and water.
At least 15 houses collapsed in Tarlay town according to the government-controlled daily New Light of Myanmar.
Bridges, hospitals, roads and other buildings have been partially damaged.
One official told AFP, "We are trying to reach the remote areas. The military, police and local authorities are trying to find some people injured in those affected areas but the roads are still closed."
Burma is ill prepared to deal with natural disasters said Bangkok-based BBC correspondent Rachel Harvey.
The military junta tends to restrict information flow. Infrastructure and communication systems are poor.
A clear picture of the extent of damage of the calamity may take some time to come out.
The Philippine media ABS-CBN said that there were no reports of casualties of Filipinos in the country.
No tsunami warnings were issued. The earthquake was more inland.
Burma is officially known as the Union of Myanmar.
Details of this report here.
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