Scores of ancient temples damaged in devastating Myanmar quake

A Reuters report said nearly 100 of Bagan’s famed ancient pagodas were damaged in the quake. Pic: Unsplash

THE POWERFUL 6.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked central Burma (Myanmar) yesterday has claimed the lives of at least three people – including two children – also damaging nearly 100 pagodas in the ancient city of Bagan in its wake.

According to the The U.S. Geological Survey, the quake hit Wednesday afternoon and was centered about 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Chauk, an area west of Bagan.

It said it was located fairly far below the Earth’s surface at a depth of about 84 kilometers (52 miles). Deep earthquakes generally cause less surface damage.

The quake was felt several hundred kilometers (miles) away in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, as well as in Bangladesh and India, according to reports.

A report by BBC quoting the city’s department of archaeology said at least 66 stupas in Bagan were damaged. The report added that a 22-year-old man was killed in the town of Pakokku due to a building collapse.

A Reuters report quoting the Information Ministry, however, said nearly 100 of Bagan’s famed ancient pagodas were damaged in the earthquake. The structures were reportedly mostly built between the 11th and 13th centuries and have been a major tourist attraction for the city.

“We felt quite heavy shaking for about 10 seconds and started to evacuate the building when there was another strong tremor,” Reuters quoted Vincent Panzani of the Save the Children charity organization as saying from Pakkoku.

The wire agency also quoted fire department and Red Cross officials as saying that the two children who were killed were from the small town of Yenanchaung, which is south of Chauk.

“Two young girls died when a pagoda collapsed on a river bank,” deputy director of Myanmar’s Red Cross Society Moe Thidar Win was quoted saying.

“One man died in a Pakokku tobacco factory when the roof collapsed on him.”

This story first appeared on Asian Correspondent. Additional reporting by Associated Press