At least 75 people were killed and hundreds left homeless on Friday after a strong earthquake hit Myanmar, with fears that the death toll could rise significantly. Buildings were flattened close to the epicentre while terrified residents fled their homes as tremors were felt as far away as Bangkok, Hanoi and parts of China when the magnitude 6.8 quake hit late on Thursday.
Myanmar state television confirmed a toll of 74 dead and 111 injured. Nearly 400 homes collapsed in four villages and towns close to the epicentre, the broadcaster said, with nine government offices also destroyed in badly-hit Tarlay town. Several monasteries were also smashed. Across the border, Thai authorities said a 52-year-old woman was killed in Mae Sai district after a wall in her house collapsed. Sixteen people, including seven Myanmar and five Chinese nationals, were hurt in the quake.
In Yangon Chris Herink, Myanmar country director for the charity World Vision, said there were reports that the number of people killed had increased. “The latest unconfirmed number is 140 so it is a worrying trend definitely,” he said. Explaining the high death toll in Myanmar, he said “it’s the time of day combined with the severity of the quake and also obviously the construction standards of the homes”.