Aftershocks continue through weekend

Aftershocks from Thursday’s earthquake in eastern Burma continued through to Sunday as aid agencies speak of their concerns about shelter and clean drinking water for survivors.

Reports since the 6.8-magnitude quake hit Shan state four days ago have put the death toll as high as 150, but relief teams have warned that the more remote regions they are struggling to access may add to that figure.

A comparatively minor 4.8-magnitude aftershock was felt early on Sunday morning in Loi Mwe town, the former British hill station that lies some 80 miles north Tarlay, which took the brunt of the quake.

One resident said however that the aftershock had little effect on the town, although the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency reported that several more houses had collapsed on Sunday, but didn’t give the location.

The government’s disaster warning centre has reportedly said that more low-level aftershocks could follow, while the UN has put the number of aftershocks so far at eight.

The UN also warned on Sunday that the risk of landslides remains high in the quake affected areas which have seen more than 300 buildings badly damaged.

Aid group World Vision, one of the few international agencies allowed to work in Burma, has said that fresh water is an urgent concern for those made homeless, many of whom are living under tarpaulin. The group has provided some 40,000 chlorine tablets and 2,500 tarpaulins, while agencies like UNICEF are carrying out assessments of the disaster zone.

According to statistics in Burmese state media, 74 people have so far been confirmed dead.

The epicentre of the earthquake was six miles beneath ground close to Tarlay, which lies only a few miles from Burma’s border with Thailand. Tremors were felt as far afield as Bangkok and Hanoi, where buildings were evacuated.

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