An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale has hit north-central Myanmar, the US Geological Survey says, with tremors felt in neighboring Bangladesh, India and Thailand as well.
The quake, whose epicenter was about 145 kilometers (90 miles) west of the city of Meiktila, and relatively deep at 84 kilometers (52 miles), struck Chauk, a town on the Irrawaddy river region several hundred kilometers northwest of Myanmar’s capital of Naypyidaw, on Wednesday.
The USGS noted that many buildings in the region were “highly vulnerable” to earthquake shaking but added that the impact would be “relatively localized.”
Chauk is located around 30 kilometers south of Bagan, Myanmar’s most famous archaeological site and home to more than 2,500 Buddhist monuments.
A police officer from Bagan told AFP that his team is looking into reports that several temples had been damaged in the region.
“We received initial information that several famous pagodas were damaged. We need more confirmation from our team on the ground. We haven’t heard of anyone being hurt,” the police official stated.
A tourist police officer said that the powerful quake had damaged Myanmar’s famous Bagan temples.
“Some famous pagodas were damaged during the earthquake,” the officer said, adding that some of the damage in the major tourist destination was “serious.”
Soe Win, a regional lawmaker from the township in Magway region, said the tremors lasted for several minutes, adding, “There was also some sound as well. A pagoda collapsed in Salay and a building also collapsed.”
Meanwhile, reports also indicate that tremors were felt as far away as the Thai capital of Bangkok and the northeastern Indian city of Kolkata.
The spokesman for Kolkata Metro Railway, Indrani Banerjee, said underground train services were suspended following the powerful quake for fear of aftershocks.
The quake was also felt throughout south and southwestern Bangladesh close to the border with Myanmar, with television footage showing residents running into the streets.
At least 20 people were injured as panicked workers tried to flee a building in the industrial area of Savar outside the capital, Dhaka, according to local media reports.
Earthquakes are relatively common in Myanmar. The last major quake struck in a nearby region in April and caused minor damage but no casualties.
In March 2011, more than 70 people died when a powerful earthquake hit the country near the borders with Laos and Thailand.
By Press TV