Home World Asia News Burma: strong earthquake hits the country near city of Mandalay

Burma: strong earthquake hits the country near city of Mandalay

A strong earthquake has rocked central Burma, and there are unconfirmed reports of casualties.

The 6.8-magnitude quake hit some 120 km (70 miles) north of the second-largest city of Mandalay, at a depth of just 10 km, the US Geological Survey said.

Burma’s local media say a bridge under construction collapsed in the town of Shwebo, closest to the epicentre.

In Mandalay, terrified residents dashed out of their homes for safety, fearing more tremors.

The earthquake hit at 07:42 local time, the US Geological Survey said.

An unnamed government official in the capital Naypidaw told Agence France-Presse that so far two people were known to have died, three have been injured and five people are still missing.

A police officer in Shwebo said five construction workers who had been working on the Radana Thinga bridge near the town were missing after “a huge steel beam fell into the river”.

He told Reuters that one woman had died and 10 people had been injured in the nearby town of Kyauk Myaung after a house collapsed.

“This is the worst earthquake I felt in my entire life,” 52-year-old Shwebo resident Soe Soe told Associated Press.

Residents in Mandalay described panic in the streets as they fled the shaking buildings.

“I ran from my bed carrying my daughter out to the street. There were many people in the road. Some were shouting and others felt dizzy,” San Yu Kyaw said.

“People are now scared of more earthquakes,” he added.

The earthquake – which was felt as far away as Bangkok in neighboring Thailand – was followed by two strong aftershocks.

The US Geological Survey issued a yellow alert, indicating that “some casualties and damage are possible”.

Earthquakes are relatively common in Burma.

In March 2011, at least 75 people died when a powerful earthquake hit Burma near the borders with Laos and Thailand.