Powerful quake in Myanmar kills three, damages 60 pagodas

The ancient Dhammayangyi temple is shrouded in dust after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Bagan in Myanmar yesterday.
The ancient Dhammayangyi temple is shrouded in dust after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Bagan in Myanmar yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

YANGON • A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Myanmar yesterday, killing at least three people, including two children, and damaging around 60 pagodas in the ancient city of Bagan, officials said.

The quake, which the United States Geological Survey said hit at a depth of 84km, was also felt across neighbouring Thailand, India and Bangladesh, sending panicked residents rushing into the streets.

Two girls, aged seven and 15, were killed in the Magway region where the quake struck, according to Myanmar's Ministry of Information.

At least one man was also killed there, said local MP Han Zaw Win of Pakokku township. "A 22-year- old man was killed when a nearby building collapsed during the earthquake," he said.

An official reported heavy damage to several temples in Bagan - Myanmar's most famous archaeological site and a major tourist destination some 30km north of the quake's epicentre.

"About 60 pagodas in Bagan were damaged. Some were seriously damaged," said Bagan's culture department director Aung Kyaw. The temples, built between the 10th and 14th centuries, are revered.

MP Soe Win of Chauk, a riverside town close to the epicentre, said it was the worst earthquake he had experienced in years. "More than eight pagodas in town collapsed," he said, referring to Chauk.

The earthquake also caused high- rise buildings in Yangon to sway, as well as those in Bangkok and Kolkata, and was felt throughout south and south-western Bangladesh, close to the border with Myanmar.

"All of us ran to the streets, leaving houses and shops unsecured as the quake seemed very dangerous," Mr Nazmus Sakib of Chittagong near the Myanmar border, wrote on Facebook.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'Powerful quake in Myanmar kills three, damages 60 pagodas'. Print Edition | Subscribe