Strong 6.0-magnitude quake rattles northern Thailand

Thai motorists drive next to a large crack on the road caused by the earthquake on a highway in Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, on 05 May 2014. A strong magnitude-6 earthquake centered in Phan district in the province of Chiang Rai shook nort
Thai motorists drive next to a large crack on the road caused by the earthquake on a highway in Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, on 05 May 2014. A strong magnitude-6 earthquake centered in Phan district in the province of Chiang Rai shook northern Thailand. It damaged several roads and houses and injured a number of villagers. But no one was reported kill. Tremors could be felt in Bangkok, according to the US Geological Survey. -- PHOTO: EPA
Foreign and Thai tourists are evacuated from a building, following the magnitude 6 earthquake, at a hotel in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand, on 05 May 2014. -- PHOTO: EPA
Foreign and Thai tourists are evacuated from a building, following the magnitude 6 earthquake, at a hotel in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand, on 05 May 2014. -- PHOTO: EPA

A strong earthquake struck northern Thailand on Monday evening, damaging roads and sending people fleeing from buildings.

There were no reports of deaths till 10 pm (11 pm Singapore time), although eyewitneses said some people were slightly hurt.

The 6.0 magnitude earthquake, which struck the mountainous Chiang Rai province, at about 6pm, could be felt as far south as Bangkok and even in Yangon, in neighbouring Myanmar.

Social media was flooded with pictures of displaced roof tiles and a leaning spire of Wat Rong Khun, a well-known Buddhist temple built in white.

Many posted shots of the deep wide cracks that made some roads in the area impassable to traffic.

Over in Bangkok, residents reported that some buildings swayed because of the earthquake

According to Thai media, the terminal of Chiang Rai’s airport, as well as hospitals were evacuated.

No dams were damaged, said the Royal Irrigation Department.

A housewife who has been living in Chiang Rai town for six years, who wanted to be known as Jasmine, told The Straits Times that her friend’s husband was slightly injured when parts of the airport’s ceiling fell on his arms.

She herself escaped unscathed after her two-storey house shook for a few minutes and a photo frame, hung on a wall, crashed onto the floor.

“This is the second time I have felt an earthquake here but it was so much stronger,” she said, as an aftershock jolted her house for three seconds during the interview.

In 2011, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Myanmar’s remote Shan state bordering Thailand, killing more than 100 people.

The United States Geological Survey, which put Monday’s quake at a relatively shallow depth of 7.4km, had initially said the quake measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, but later downgraded it.

Thailand has several fault lines, but does not usually experience major earthquakes.

Monday’s quake was “the most powerful earthquake to strike the country in recent times", Meteorological Department seismologist Burin Wechbunthung told the AFP.tanhy@sph.com.sg