Earth­quake con­fer­ence set for Nay Pwi Taw

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - MYAT MOE AUNG my­at­moeaung@mm­

The gov­ern­ment has sched­uled a con­fer­ence on earth­quakes to dis­cuss the best ways to mit­i­gate ca­su­al­ties.

THE gov­ern­ment will host a con­fer­ence about earth­quakes in Nay Pyi Taw next month to dis­cuss ways to raise pub­lic aware­ness about min­imis­ing ca­su­al­ties and dam­age in the af­ter­math of such a dis­as­ter.

The two-day con­fer­ence, from July 12 to 13, was sched­uled be­cause the coun­try has ex­pe­ri­enced dozens of earth­quakes in the past year, es­pe­cially in June, which saw at least 12 mod­er­ate tremors with a mag­ni­tude of at least 4 on the Richter scale.

It will be at­tended by lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions that are help­ing gov­ern­ment ef­forts to man­age nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, ac­cord­ing to U Yin Myo Min Htwe, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of the earth­quake sub­di­vi­sion un­der the Depart­ment of Me­te­o­rol­ogy and Hy­drol­ogy.

“The gov­ern­ment is in­stalling quake-mea­sur­ing de­vices in states and re­gions. We are ex­pand­ing to Myeik archipelago in Tanintharyi Re­gion and in Aye­yarwady Re­gion this year,” he said.

U Yin Myo Min Htwe said the lo­ca­tion of the equip­ment in Aye­yarwady has not yet been se­lected.

“In ad­di­tion to in­stalling the equip­ment mea­sur­ing the mag­ni­tude of earth­quakes and re­search, the gov­ern­ment is mov­ing up quake pre­pared­ness across the coun­try,” he said, such as pub­lic aware­ness cam­paigns and con­duct­ing drills on what to do when an earth­quake hap­pens.

Since 2015, he said pub­lic in­ter­est about earth­quakes has in­creased be­cause the coun­try has ex­pe­ri­enced strong tremors, such as the 2016 earth­quake in Ba­gan that de­stroyed some of its fa­mous tem­ples and pago­das and killed three peo­ple.

Ac­cord­ing to depart­ment of­fi­cials, the epi­cen­ters of 16 earth­quakes that hit Myanmar in June were mostly deep un­der the earth, so they caused no ma­jor sur­face dam­age.

The lat­est earth­quake oc­curred on Wed­nes­day, with a mag­ni­tude of 5 on the Richter scale. The epi­cen­ter of the tremor was seven miles from Nay Pyi Taw.

Res­i­dents of the ad­min­is­tra­tive cap­i­tal said they felt quite strong shak­ing in the evening Wed­nes­day that lasted a few sec­onds.

U Yin Myo Min Htwe said the quake hap­pened be­cause of the col­li­sion of plates in the sub­sur­face layer of the Earth in north­west Myanmar.

“There are many plates in the Earth, and Myanmar is lo­cated where some of those plates meet, so we have earth­quake of­ten,” said U Yin Myo Min Htwe.

Myanmar rests on four faults: the Sa­gaing, Kyautkyan, Kalar­tan and Kabaw.

Ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment, the earth­quake that shook Phyu town­ship in Bago Re­gion on June 17 was the strong­est one this month at 5.1 mag­ni­tude, while the weak­est one recorded struck near Thibaw town­ship of Shan State on June 7 with a mag­ni­tude of 3.1.

Photo: Kaung Htet

Re­mains of a house that col­lapsed dur­ing the 2011 earth­quake in Tachiliek in Shan State.

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