YANGON, Myanmar – A strong earthquake struck northern Myanmar today, with local media reporting that five people were killed. Scattered damage and injuries also were reported in areas close to the quake’s epicenter.
According to news reports, the most significant damage appeared to be the collapsing of a bridge under construction across the Irrawaddy River in the town of Shwebo, the location of the quake’s epicenter. The website of Weekly Eleven magazine said five people were killed when the bridge, which was 80 percent built, collapsed.
“This is the worst earthquake I felt in my entire life,” said Soe Soe, a 52-year-old Shwebo resident.
According to Soe Soe, the huge concrete gate of a monastery collapsed and several sculptures from another pagoda were damaged in the town.
Other damage was reported in Mogok, a major gem-mining area just east of the quake’s epicenter. Temples were damaged there, as were some abandoned ruby mines hit by landslides.
A resident in the capital, Naypyitaw, said several window panes of the parliament building had broken.
An official from the Meteorological Department in Naypyitaw said the magnitude-6.8 quake struck at 7:42 a.m. local time.