Death toll in Burma earthquake surpasses 70
The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck north-eastern Burma on Thursday has passed 70, with fears of a higher total as conditions in more remote areas become known.
The quake, measured at a magnitude 6.8 by the US Geological Survey, was centred just north of Tachileik town in Shan State near the Thai border.
It was felt hundreds of miles away in the Thai capital, Bangkok, and Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.
Myanmar state radio announced yesterday that 74 people had been killed and 111 injured in the quake, but was updating the total frequently.
It said 390 houses, 14 Buddhist monasteries and nine government buildings had been damaged.
An official from the UN's World Food Programme said there were many casualties and serious damage in Mong Lin village, 8km from Tachileik. State radio said 29 were killed there and 16 injured.
The state-run 'New Light of Myanmar' newspaper reported that 15 houses collapsed in the town of Tarlay, where state radio said 11 were killed and 29 injured.
Another UN official said a small hospital there was damaged as well as a bridge, making it difficult to access the town. The private relief agency World Vision said water tanks and wells had also been damaged.
In Mae Sai, just over the Thai border, one woman was killed when a wall fell on her, according to Thai police, but damage was otherwise minimal.
The UN said medicine would be sent to the affected areas as soon as possible with an assessment team in co-operation with the Burmese Red Cross Society.
Other relief efforts were also gearing up. World Vision said that it would provide 250 households with basic necessities, such as food and water.