A magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook central Myanmar around 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday, damaging buildings and sending people running into the streets across the region.
At least three people are said to have been killed: a 22-year-old man who the BBC says died when a building collapsed in the town of Pakokku, about 20 miles from the quake’s epicenter; and two young girls who Reuters reports were killed when a riverbank collapsed in Yenanchaung township.
NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reports:
“The quake was centered about 15 miles west of Chauk, a port town on the Irrawaddy River. It’s not far from the ancient city and tourist mecca of Bagan, where pictures suggest that centuries-old pagodas suffered some damage. … Buildings shook in Myanmar’s two largest cities, Yangon and Mandalay.
“The quake also sent office workers running from their buildings in Bangkok, Thailand and Kolkata, India, and some public transportation in those cities was delayed or suspended.”
A fire department official in the regional capital Magwe told Reuters: “So far as we heard from our local staff, a three-story building collapsed in Chauk and a pagoda was badly damaged in a town called Yenanchaung,”
A resident of Yenanchaung township, about 40 miles from the epicenter, told the wire service the damaged pagoda had already been cracked before the earthquake.
Posts on social media appeared to show damage to centuries-old pagodas in the popular tourist destination of Bagan, about 10 miles northeast of the earthquake epicenter.
The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake’s epicenter at some 50 miles below the surface of the earth — a relatively deep location that might have helped mitigate damage.