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.
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
Dhammayangyi Temple is shrouded in dust as a 6.8-magnitude earthquake shook Bagan yesterday.
Debris clogs the entrance of a temple in Bagan following yesterday’s earthquake.