Monday 25 June 2018

Strong earthquake hits Burma and felt in India

Residents who rushed outdoors following tremors stand on a road outside their houses in Kolkata, India (AP)
Residents who rushed outdoors following tremors stand on a road outside their houses in Kolkata, India (AP)

A strong earthquake has hit Burma was felt in parts of eastern India and Bangladesh, causing residents to rush out of their homes in panic.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or major damage following the shock.

The magnitude-6.9 quake struck at a depth of 84 miles, 246 miles north of Burma's capital, Naypyidaw, according to the US Geological Survey.

Residents in Burma's main city of Yangon panicked after the quake struck, but authorities there said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

A journalist who was in a hospital in Yangon at the time of the quake said the six-story building shook strongly twice, for at least a minute. Many people in the hospital, including patients, staff and visitors, ran out of the building and began calling their loved ones.

"I was sleeping on my bed when suddenly I felt the ground shaking. The first time it was intense, but the second time it was lighter," said Aung Thu, 25, who has been spending nights at the hospital for the last week to take care of his elder brother.

"I had experienced this kind of earthquake before, so I was not that scared. But I was concerned because my brother is ill, and I need to take care of him."

He said he was on the third floor of the Shwegonedine Specialist Centre hospital, and as soon as he felt the quake he called his wife and son to tell them to be "prepared for the worst."

The quake was centred in the jungle and hills around 137 miles north-west of Mandalay, Burma's second-biggest city. While the area is prone to earthquakes, it is generally sparsely populated, and most houses are low-rise structures.

Since the area is remote and the quake happened at night, a full assessment of the situation was not expected before Thursday morning.

The tremors were felt in the eastern Indian states of Assam and West Bengal, including in the area of Assam's Kaziranga National Park, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting during their royal tour of India.

The British High Commission in New Delhi said Prince William and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, were safe.

"We felt the tremor very strongly, but all is fine," said British Deputy High Commissioner Scott Furssedonn-Wood, who was staying in the same 12-cottage jungle resort as the royal couple.

William and Kate were spending the night in the park area, and were scheduled to leave for neighbouring Bhutan on Thursday.

A failure at a power station in eastern Assam caused outages in several parts of the state.

In Assam's capital, Gauhati, people rushed outdoors as they felt strong tremors and buildings swaying.

Mobile phone services were disrupted, and wall-mounted television sets crashed to the ground at a local TV station. Police said they were still assessing the situation.

Residents in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal state, ran out of their homes in panic as the earthquake hit the region, but there were no immediate reports of serious injuries or damage.

People also reported feeling the quake in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, 300 miles from the epicentre.

Press Association

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