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Myanmar Quake Damages At Least 185 Bagan Pagodas

YANGON, Myanmar—A powerful earthquake shook Myanmar on Wednesday, killing at least three people and damaging more than 100 ancient Buddhist pagodas in the former capital of Bagan, a major tourist site.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.8 quake was centered about 15 miles west of Chauk, a town south of Bagan.
It struck quite far below the earth’s surface at a depth of about 52 miles, the agency said. Deep quakes usually cause less surface damage. 
At least 185 brick pagodas in Bagan were damaged, the state newspaper reported.
  • Bagan, also known as Pagan, has more than 2,200 structures, including pagodas and temples constructed from the 10th to the 14th centuries. Many are in disrepair while others have been restored in recent years, aided by the United Nations cultural agency Unesco.
  • The vast site is Myanmar’s premier tourist attraction, featuring a panoramic view of temples stretching to the horizon flanked by the Irrawaddy River.
  • Dr. Myo Thant, general secretary of the Myanmar Earthquake Committee, said other areas apparently weren’t badly affected.

Police officer Htay Win in Pakokku, 45 miles from the epicenter, said one person there had been killed and one injured. 
“The person was killed by falling bricks from a building,” he said.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement reported two other deaths in nearby Thitapwe village. 
Vincent Panzani, a staff member in Pakokku for the aid agency Save the Children, said several of his colleagues from the area described the earthquake as the strongest they had experienced.
  • “We felt quite heavy shaking for about 10 seconds and started to evacuate the building when there was another strong tremor,” he said in comments sent by email.
  • “Most of the reports of damage have been to the pagodas in the area with dozens impacted,” he said. 
  • “There have also been reports of damage to smaller, more basic buildings including a collapsed wall and a destroyed roof.”
  • Worried residents of Yangon, the country’s main city, rushed out of tall buildings, and objects toppled from tables and from Buddhist shrines in homes. However, there were no reports of serious damage in the city.

The quake was felt in a half-dozen states in neighboring India, where people dashed out of offices and homes in several places.
It also caused buildings to sway in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital. 
There were no immediate reports of damage in either country.
The last major quake in the area, which is often affected by smaller tremors, occurred in April about 180 miles farther north and measured magnitude 6.9. 
It caused no reported casualties and only minor damage.

Source: AP
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