Earthquake causes casualties and damages in eastern Myanmar

25 March, 2011
Damaged buildings in Tarlay. Credit: World Vision Myanmar
Damaged buildings in Tarlay. Credit: World Vision Myanmar

On 24 March 2011, an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 struck the eastern state of Shan in Myanmar, triggering six aftershocks to date and high risk of landslides. The latest official number of casualties has reached 73 deaths and 125 injuries, and an initial rapid assessment conducted by World Vision International (WVI) estimates that 95,000 people have been affected. Tremors were felt in northern parts of Thailand and even Bangkok.

The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has visited affected areas in and around Tacheleik Township, and the Minister himself is expected to visit with his team on 26 March. Local authorities are providing basic relief assistance, and the National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee has deployed search and rescue and relief teams.

Food, water, temporary shelter and basic first aid supplies are urgently needed, and the UN and NGOs have started assessments, mobilizing efforts and response. 224 houses, 11 monasteries and 11 official buildings have been damaged in Tarlay Sub-Township alone. WVI has distributed water and food assistance to affected households, a local WHO staff member is providing assistance to local health authorities, and UNICEF has deployed field staff to conduct a rapid assessment with the Myanmar Red Cross Society.

This is the third earthquake in Myanmar since the beginning of the year – the first hit on 4 February, the second on 10 March – and it is the first to result in damages and casualties. The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar will be meeting key partners and donors on 26 March in Yangon.