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Earthquake strikes Myanmar, sending tremors into Thailand

An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale jolted Myanmar at 8:37 am on Friday, leaving a seismic impact felt across the neighbouring regions, particularly in Thailand.

The Thai Meteorological Department’s Earthquake Observation Division reported that the quake’s epicentre was located approximately 100 kilometres northwest of Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the epicentre was situated about 76 kilometres southwest of Kengtung township in Myanmar’s Shan State, occurring at a depth of nine kilometres.

The seismic event was accompanied by three aftershocks with magnitudes of 4.1, 3.5, and 3.4, recorded shortly after the initial quake. The tremors were reportedly felt in various districts, including Muang, Mae Suay and Mae Sai in Chiang Rai; Saraphi and Muang in Chiang Mai; Muang in Lamphun; parts of Nan; and Lak Si district.

The impact extended beyond Thailand, reaching Mae Hong Son in the North, as well as Udon Thani and Khon Kaen in the Northeast.

Reports from residents in high-rise buildings, as well as staff and patients at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital, indicated feeling the tremor for about five seconds. Despite the intensity of the quake, there were no immediate reports of damage to reservoirs or dams in the northern provinces.

A comprehensive survey is underway in all districts to assess any potential structural damage caused by the earthquake.

Prasan Sangwandet, director of the Earthquake Observation Division, identified the Kengtung fault in Myanmar’s Shan State as the source of the earthquake.

Myanmar, crisscrossed by seismic faults, is no stranger to earthquakes. The country is situated within the notorious Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped zone around the Pacific Ocean known for its high seismic activity. The movement of tectonic plates in this region often leads to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Thai Meteorological Department remains on high alert, monitoring developments around the clock.

The earthquake also had a significant impact on the healthcare infrastructure in the affected areas. Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew reported that 14 Thai hospitals, 13 in the North and one in the Northeast, suffered damage as a result of the quake. Among them, two hospitals experienced partial suspension of services.

The most affected were 11 hospitals in Chiang Rai and two in Chiang Mai. In Chiang Rai, hospitals such as Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital in Muang district, Mae Lao Hospital, Somdej Phra Yayasangwon Hospital in Wiang Chai, and others faced various degrees of damage.

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