Pow­er­ful earth­quake rat­tles cen­tral Myan­mar

A 6.8-mag­ni­tude quake cen­tred in Magwe Re­gion yes­ter­day killed at least three peo­ple, dam­aged over 100 an­cient pago­das in Ba­gan and broke windows in Nay Pyi Taw’s hlut­taw.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page -

AT least three peo­ple were killed and more than 100 an­cient pago­das and stu­pas were dam­aged by a pow­er­ful 6.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake that struck yes­ter­day near Chauk, a Magwe Re­gion town on the Aye­yarwady River about 30 kilo­me­tres (19 miles) south of Ba­gan.

The tem­blor was felt across the re­gion, in­clud­ing in Bangkok and Dhaka.

U Myo Thant, sec­re­tary of the Myan­mar Earth­quake Com­mit­tee, said nearly all of western Myan­mar could feel the quake, and that even some liv­ing in the western part of the Shan Plateau could also sense the jolt.

Ac­cord­ing to the De­part­ment of Re­lief and Re­set­tle­ment, in Magwe Re­gion the earth­quake killed two girls in Shar Pin Yone vil­lage, Ye­nangyaung town­ship, and a man from Kon vil­lage in Pakokku town­ship.

The Min­istry of Cul­ture and Re­li­gious Af­fairs re­leased a state­ment say­ing 171 an­cient pago­das, stu­pas and tem­ples in Ba­gan, the pop­u­lar tourist draw in Man­dalay Re­gion, were dam­aged by the quake, with lo­cal author­i­ties still col­lect­ing data on the ex­tent of the de­struc­tion.

Well-known struc­tures such as the Su­la­mani, Dham­mayangyi and Pya That Gyi tem­ples were among the vic­tims, pos­si­bly jeop­ar­dis­ing an on­go­ing bid to get Ba­gan recog­nised as a World Her­itage Site by the United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion (UNESCO).

“Now, we are still check­ing others,” said U Aung Aung Kyaw, di­rec­tor of the De­part­ment of Ar­chae­ol­ogy, Na­tional Mu­seum and Li­brary. “We are dis­ap­pointed the earth­quake hit while we are try­ing to be listed by UNESCO.”

In Sa­gaing Re­gion’s Sal­ingyi town­ship, nine pago­das and stu­pas suf­fered dam­age, the Min­istry of Cul­ture and Re­li­gious Af­fairs said.

The Myan­mar Times’ Magwe Re­gion cor­re­spon­dent re­ported that Nga Pwet Eai Moun­tain was also af­fected, with molten lava cas­cad­ing from its face fol­low­ing the quake.

U Kyaw Lwin, a se­nior of­fi­cial from Rakhine State’s De­part­ment of Re­lief and Re­set­tle­ment, said three pago­das in Mrauk-U – an­other site on the tourist trail – were dam­aged along with one school build­ing and some res­i­dences in the state. “We no­ticed a 15-sec­ond-long shak­ing,” he said.

The three Bud­dhist shrines in MraukU are Koe Thaung Tem­ple, Yan­dan Man Aung Pagoda and Yadana Pagoda.

The Myan­mar Times’ Nay Pyi Taw cor­re­spon­dent re­ported yes­ter­day that res­i­dents of the cap­i­tal also felt the seis­mic up­heaval, which even dis­rupted a gath­er­ing re­lated to Myan­mar’s on­go­ing peace process.

“Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of eth­nic armed groups ran away from the build­ing dur­ing the JICM meet­ing,” he said, re­fer­ring to a Joint Im­ple­men­ta­tion Co­or­di­na­tion Meet­ing held yes­ter­day be­tween the gov­ern­ment and sev­eral eth­nic armed or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Amyotha Hlut­taw law­maker U Ba Myo Thein (NLD; Yangon 5) told The Myan­mar Times that the par­lia­ment build­ing sus­tained dam­age and a work­shop on fed­er­al­ism held in the Amyotha Hlut­taw cham­ber was cut short due to the earth­quake. “We felt the par­lia­ment build­ing shak­ing and we were fright­ened and ran away from the build­ing sud­denly,” he said. – Staff

Photo: AFP

Dham­mayangyi Tem­ple is shrouded in dust as a 6.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake shook Ba­gan yes­ter­day.

Photo: EPA

De­bris clogs the en­trance of a tem­ple in Ba­gan fol­low­ing yes­ter­day’s earth­quake.

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