YANGON, Myanmar — A powerful earthquake that toppled homes in northeastern Myanmar has killed more than 70 people, and there were fears yesterday that the toll would mount as conditions in more remote areas became known.
The quake Thursday night, measured at 6.8 magnitude by the US Geological Survey, was centered 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 in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.
Myanmar state radio announced yesterday that 73 people had been killed and 111 injured. It said 390 houses, 14 Buddhist monasteries, and nine government buildings were damaged. Earlier in the day, news broadcasts had put the death toll at 74. No explanation was given for the decrease.
Significant damage was reported in the villages around Tachileik, including to bridges and roads, which developed massive fissures, complicating relief efforts.
A UN official said a small hospital and bridge were damaged in the nearby town of Tarlay, making it difficult to access the town.
The private relief agency World Vision said water tanks and wells were also damaged, making water scarce.
On the Thai side of the border, one woman was killed in Mae Sai when a wall fell on her, according to Thai police, but damage was otherwise minimal.
The UN official said medicine would be sent to the affected areas as soon as possible along with an assessment team in cooperation with the Myanmar Red Cross Society.
He said 95,000 people were estimated to live near the quake’s epicenter, but it was unknown how many suffered damage from it.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Myanmar’s government frowns on giving unauthorized information to the media.
Other relief efforts also were gearing up. World Vision said that at the request of the government, it would provide 250 households with basic necessities, such as food and water.