Yangon(AFP): At least 75 people were killed when a strong earthquake struck Myanmar, officials said today, with fears that the toll would rise as news filtered through from remote areas still cut off.
Tremors were felt as far away as Bangkok, almost 800 kilometres (500 miles) from the epicentre, Hanoi and parts of China when the earthquake hit yesterday, which the US Geological Survey (USGS) measured at magnitude 6.8.
A Myanmar official said 74 people were killed and 110 were injured in five areas close to the epicentre. More than 240 buildings had collapsed.
“We are trying to reach the remote areas,” the official said.”The military, police and local authorities are trying to find some people injured in those affected areas but the roads are still closed.”
Across the border, Thai authorities said a 52-year-old woman was killed in Mae Sai district after a wall in her house collapsed.
Terrified residents across the region fled their homes, tall buildings swayed and hospitals and schools were evacuated.
In Yangon Chris Herink, Myanmar country director for the charity World Vision, said there did not appear to be “catastrophic infrastructure damage” in the affected areas of Kengtung and Tachileik, although buildings were cracked and water supplies disrupted in some parts.
“Of real concern though are the more rural areas. There will be more, I am afraid to say, unhappy information coming throughout the day,” he said.
“It is a hilly area near the border between Thailand and Laos, the so-called Golden Triangle. There is a lot of commerce that goes on in the area.”
World Vision helps care for around 7,000 children sponsored by overseas donors in the affected areas.