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Myanmar earthquake damages famed Bagan temples

  • Published at 06:35 pm August 25th, 2016
  • Last updated at 07:26 pm August 25th, 2016
Myanmar earthquake damages famed Bagan temples
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake has struck central Myanmar, shaking buildings across the South-East Asian nation and, according to police, damaging several Buddhist temples in the ancient city of Bagan. The quake hit the town of Chauk, southwest of Mandalay, the Myanmar government said, with tremors felt as far away as Bangkok, where witnesses reported high-rise buildings swaying, and the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. At least three people have been killed with the quake damaging several Buddhist temples in the ancient city of Bagan, police said. A fire department official from regional capital Magwe said two young girls were killed when a riverbank gave way in Yenanchaung township, south of Chauk. One person was killed and another injured when a tobacco processing factory collapsed in the town of Pakkoku, to the north, the duty officer at the local fire department said. Save the Children's Vincent Panzani, who was in Pakkoku, said there had been reports of damage to pagodas in the area and smaller buildings including several cracked or collapsed walls and a destroyed roof, abc.net reported. "We felt quite heavy shaking for about 10 seconds and started to evacuate the building when there was another strong tremor," he said. "Several of our staff who've lived in this part of Myanmar their whole lives said it was the strongest earthquake they've ever felt." There were no other confirmed casualties, and early reports suggested limited damage overall. Maung Maung Kyaw, a local official of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), said his house shook during the quake. "Many people were scared and they ran out of the buildings," he said. "I went outside to check the situation in the town. Some of the buildings are split and nearly collapsed, but I don't see any people affected by the quake." Ancient city of Bagan a major tourism drawcard The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the epiccentre was about 145 kilometres west of the city of Meiktila, and relatively deep at 84 kilometres Chauk is about 35 kilometres from Myanmar's ancient capital of Bagan, known as the "City of Four Million Pagodas" and a major draw for Myanmar's nascent tourism industry. "Some famous pagodas were damaged during the earthquake," a tourist police officer from Bagan said, adding some of the damage in the major tourist destination was "serious". According to the 2014 census, the town has a population of about 45,000, with around 185,000 living in the surrounding area. "So far as we heard from our local staff, a three-storey building collapsed in Chauk and a pagoda was badly damaged in a town called Yenanchaung," a fire department official in the regional capital Magwe said. Ko Tin Ko Lwin, a resident of Yenanchaung township, said a pagoda that had been cracked before the quake had collapsed, while electricity poles and some trees were felled. Quake felt in Bangkok, Bangladesh The quake shook buildings in Myanmar's biggest city of Yangon and in other towns and cities, witnesses said. Office buildings in the Thai capital Bangkok, to the east of Myanmar, shook for a few seconds, residents there said. The quake was also felt in Bangladesh, to the west of Myanmar, where some people ran out into the street as buildings shook, residents said. Myanmar is in a seismically active part of the world where the Indo-Australian Plate runs up against the Eurasian Plate. In March 2011, at least 74 people were killed in an earthquake in Myanmar near its borders with Thailand and Laos.  
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