NAYPYIDAW, MYANMAR [ ABN NEWS ] — A 6.8-magnitude powerful earthquake, which shook central Myanmar on Wednesday, has killed at least four people and damaged 190 ancient famous pagodas in Bagan-Nyaung Oo region and Rakhine state, official report said on Thursday, quoting the Archeology Department.
Due to earthquake which rocked Myanmar at 05:04 p.m. local time, one man and one women died in Pakkoku township in Magway region when a tobacco processing factory collapsed and two young girls aged 7 and 15 also lost their lives in Yenanchaung township, according to local Information and Public Relations Department.
It was felt in varying degrees by virtually everyone in the country, officials said, adding that evaluation of the damage is still underway.
With an epicenter 197.9 km southwest of Mandalay and 19.3 km west of Chauk, the quake jolted most parts of the country including Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon, according to the country’s Meteorology and Hydrology Department.
The quake, the strongest among the 26 quakes that have rocked the country since January 2016, shook buildings and damaged electricity supply in many parts of the country, according to residents of quake-hit areas.
Moreover, initial reports said parts of the building of the House of Nationalities in Nay Pyi Taw was found cracked.
The quake emanated from a depth of 84 km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Myanmar’s Department of Relief and Resettlement has alerted the people in quake-hit areas to be aware of the follow-up small quakes.
The powerful quake was also felt in neighboring Bangladesh and several Indian states including West Bengal, Bihar and Assam, with thousands of panic-stricken people rushed outdoors following the jolts that lasted for seconds.
MORE EARTHQUAKE IN MYANMAR
A 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook Myanmar on Wednesday, killing at least four people and damaging nearly 100 ancient Buddhist pagodas in the former capital of Bagan, a major tourist site. Strong tremors were felt as far in Eastern India including Kolkata, Guwahati and Patna and in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital.
The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.8 quake was centered about 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Chauk, a town south of Bagan where at least 94 brick pagodas were damaged. It struck quite far below the earth’s surface at a depth of about 52 miles, the agency said. Deep quakes usually cause less surface damage.
Bagan, also known as Pagan, has more than 2,200 structures, including pagodas and temples constructed from the 10th to the 14th centuries. Many are in disrepair while others have been restored in recent years, aided by the United Nations cultural agency Unesco.
The vast site is Myanmar’s premier tourist attraction, featuring a panoramic view of temples stretching to the horizon flanked by the Irrawaddy River, an especially impressive experience at sunset.
Dr. Myo Thant, general secretary of the Myanmar Earthquake Committee, said other areas apparently weren’t badly affected.
In Pakokku, 45 miles from the epicenter, a police officer confirmed that one person there had been killed by falling bricks from a building and one person was injured.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement reported two other deaths in nearby Thitapwe village.
Vincent Panzani, a staff member in Pakokku for the aid agency Save the Children, said several of his colleagues from the area described the earthquake as the strongest they had experienced.
“We felt quite heavy shaking for about 10 seconds and started to evacuate the building when there was another strong tremor,” he said in comments sent by email. “Most of the reports of damage have been to the pagodas in the area with dozens impacted. There have also been reports of damage to smaller, more basic buildings including a collapsed wall and a destroyed roof.”
Worried residents of Yangon, the country’s main city, rushed out of tall buildings, and objects toppled from tables and from Buddhist shrines in homes. However, there were no reports of serious damage in the city.