28 Mar 2011

Quake toll rising

8:37 am on 28 March 2011

At least 75 people are reported to have been killed and many more injured when a powerful earthquake struck north-eastern Myanmar on Thursday.

The magnitude 6.8 quake struck near the Lao and Thai borders and was felt as far away as the Thai capital Bangkok, and in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

The town of Tachileik and surrounding villages in Shan state appear to have borne the brunt of the earthquake.

The BBC reports there are fears the casualties could be much higher.

The earthquake occurred at 1355 GMT on Thursday at a depth of 10km. It was felt in many parts of neighbouring Thailand.

Thousands now homeless

A New Zealander who experienced the Myanmar earthquake says 100,000 people are potentially displaced and need emergency help.

Jenny MacIntyre, a communications manager for World Vision who is now back in New Zealand, says the quake epicentre was one of the villages where the charity is working.

She says while houses are largely wooden and rode out the quake waves, the more permanent buildings were destroyed.

Ms MacIntyre says because the hospital has collapsed some people are on hospital beds under make shift tarpaulins and tents outside.

She says a lot of people are still too scared to stay inside because of the continuing aftershocks.

Ms MacIntyre says World Vision has concerns for around 1000 sponsored children, although none of those in the area hit were being assisted by New Zealand donors.