6.9 magnitude earthquake hits Myanmar

A strong earthquake has struck Myanmar, the US Geological Survey reports, with tremors in India and China sending residents out into the streets. The 6.9 magnitude quake took place at a depth of 135km (84 miles) north-west of Mandalay. Casualties have been reported in north-east India. It could be felt in the north-east Indian state of Assam, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are staying. The royal couple, who are staying in a national park, were unharmed. Tremors are relatively common in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). An Associated Press news agency reporter in the city of Yangon reported seeing a seven-storey hospital shake during Wednesday’s two-minute quake, causing staff and patients to flee the building. The quake sent people on to the street in all affected areas, including Agartala, capital of India’s Tripura state Many of Myanmar’s outlying areas have inadequate communications and infrastructure, including the area where the earthquake hit. The Chinese official Xinhua news agency said strong tremors had also been felt in Tibet, with many residents of Lhasa drawn out on the streets. The quake was also felt in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, 484km (300 miles) from the epicentre and in the Indian city of Kolkata. Similar shaking was experienced in the Assam capital Guwahati, where wall-mounted television sets at a local TV station were reported to have been sent crashing to the ground. The royal party felt the quake along with millions of others in Myanmar, India and China The British royal party have been visiting Assam’s Kaziranga National Park. “We felt the tremor very strongly, but all is fine,” British Deputy High Commissioner Scott Furssedonn-Wood – who is staying in the same jungle resort as the royal couple – was quoted by AP as saying. The royal couple are spending Wednesday night in the park and are due to travel to neighbouring Bhutan on Thursday. An earthquake measuring 6.7 magnitude hit north-east India in January, near its borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, killing at least nine people. In March 2011, at least 75 people died when a powerful earthquake hit Myanmar near the borders with Laos and Thailand.

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