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Earthaquake damage estimated at US $3.6 m

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The 6.9 magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Shan State in Burma on March 24  caused an estimated US $3.6 million in damage, according to a quake rescue committee established by the local authorities in Tarlay.

The earthquake destruction was heaviest around the Talay area in northeast Burma. Photo: MizzimaA report issued on March 27 by the branch office of United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Rangoon said that the latest official number of casualties had reached 74 deaths and 125 people injured.

The report said that 224 houses, 31 religious buildings and 11 schools were damaged by the earthquake.

Unofficial death estimates indicate around 150 people died and many more were injured. Damage estimates and the number of deaths have been hard to quantify because of the scattered nature of the aid response and the remoteness of the area. Residents said that it is difficult to ascertain the actual number of casualties because of poor communications and coordination.

The Tarlay bridge, which links Tachileik and Keng Tung, collapsed due to the earthquake and road communication was cut off, the report said. The earthquake seriously affected Tarlay sub-Township and Mong Lin and villages in Naryaung.

A rescue team member in Tachileik said that a church was destroyed and broken in two in Kyakuni village, 22 miles north of Tachileik, and 146 houses in Kyakuni were destroyed by the earthquake.

Among the people who were attending the Bible class in the church, 20 died on the spot and 60 were injured. Two hundred victims from Kyakuni village took refuge in Mawtweet village, one-and-half-hour's drive from Kyakuni.

International NGOs including World Vision and UNICEF and other NGO groups and private donors are providing quake victims some relief supplies. Currently, the victims urgently need kitchen equipment to cook with and dried food. Survivors have difficulty in obtaining clean drinking water.

Victims need instant noodles, candles, blankets, clothes, plastic tents, bottles of drinking water and kitchen utensils.

Eight people were killed by the earthquake in Tachileik.

About 100 injured from nearby villages were taken to Tachileik Hospital, and the hospitals of Light Infantry Battalion 359 and Light Infantry Battalion 331 based in Tachileik, said a resident.

A state-run newspaper said on March 27 that Maj-Gen Aung Than Htut of the Ministry of Defence, the commander of Triangle Region Command Brig-Gen Than Tun Oo, and Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Maung Maung Swe toured the quake-affected area.

The earthquake was the fifth quake to hit Burma this year. In January, an earthquake hit Sagaing Division. In February, earthquakes struck Sagaing Division, Kachin State and Mandalay Division.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 31 March 2011 14:22 )  

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