Burma Quake Kills 75+

Over 75 killed and 90 injured in magnitude 6.8 Burma quake; more than 130 buildings collapse.

Tags: Earthquake
Gabe Kahn. , | updated: 12:40 PM

Chiang Rai City
Chiang Rai City

Over 75 were killed and 90 injured when a strong earthquake struck Burma near the Thai border, officials from both countries told the Associated Press today. Officials in both countries fear the death toll will rise as relief operations continue.

Tremors from the 6.8 magnitude quake could be felt as far away as Bangkok, Hanoi, and parts of China during the earthquake yesterday. Terrified residents across the region fled their homes, tall buildings swayed and hospitals and schools were evacuated during the tremors. Dozens of buildings collapsed.

The quake struck 90 kilometers north of Chiang Rai and 235 kilometers north-north-east of Chiang Mai, Thailand's second most populous city and a popular tourist destination. Thailand's meteorological service reported six large aftershocks following the initial quake on Friday.

A Burma official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press, "The death toll of the quake has increased to more than 50 in Tarlay and Mine Lin townships. Roads are also closed. According to the information that we have, more than 130 buildings collapsed because of the quake. There might be more casualties and damage."

Across the border, Thai authorities reported a 52-year-old woman was killed in Mae Sai district after a wall in her house collapsed. But, officials in other affected nations reported no loss of life or damage to critical infrastructure despite widespread fear and moderate property damage.

The economic impact of the quake is likely to be limited. The affected region, popularly known as the Golden Triangle from its heydey as the world's hottest opium exporting region, has primarily sustained itself through tourism dollars since the decline of its agriculture - primarily opium - industry.

The quake comes two weeks after Japan was hit by a monster earthquake, which unleashed a devastating tsunami that left around 27,000 people dead or missing and triggered a crisis at its Fukushima nuclear plant. Burma and Japan sit on different tectonic plates, separated by the vast Eurasian plate.

The USGS initially recorded the quake as magnitude 7.0, but later revised it down to 6.8. No tsunami warning was issued after the Burma quake due to its epicenter being deep inland.

Map: Wikimedia Commons