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Myanmar: Update: Tzu Chi’s Flood Relief and Rice Seeds Distribution In Myanmar

17 April 2016 - 10:57pm
Source: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Country: Myanmar

Heavy rains caused floods in several parts of Myanmar since June 2015. It’s even worse that Cyclone Komen made landfall, bringing strong winds and additional heavy rains to the country for several weeks, which resulted in widespread flooding across 12 of the country’s 14 states. More than 1.7 million people were affected and 840,000 acres of paddy fields were destroyed, where farmlands in six states including Rakhine, Ayeyarwady, Bago, Sagaing, Magway and Yangon were severely damaged. Experts forecasted the floods would cause a decline of rice production by 2 million tonnes.

On July 31, 2015, Tzu Chi began its relief efforts by mobilizing volunteers to the northern Sagaing Region and rural areas of Yangon Division, in which distribution of urgent daily use items and hot meals had been carried out for one month, benefiting more than 7,000 people.

At the same time, Tzu Chi decided to launch a comprehensive rice seeds distribution after conducting a disaster survey and an assessment of rice replant assistance program in two major rice production areas, Taikyi township in Yangon Division and Mawbi township.

World: Asia - Earthquakes - ECHO Daily Map | 15/04/2016

17 April 2016 - 8:03pm
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Afghanistan, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Vanuatu, World

Myanmar: Myanmar president pardons 83 political prisoners: official

16 April 2016 - 11:20pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Sunday 4/17/2016 - 07:26 GMT

by Athens ZAW ZAW

Myanmar President Htin Kyaw pardoned 83 political prisoners on the country's traditional New Year Sunday, a spokesman from his office said, as the fledgling civilian-led administration seeks to cast off the shackles of nearly half a century of military rule.

The new government, steered by veteran democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, has spent its first weeks in power freeing scores of political activists prosecuted under the country's former military leaders.

"All of the 83 prisoners that the president gave amnesty to today are political prisoners and prisoners concerned with political cases," Zaw Htay, the deputy director of the president's office, told AFP.

A presidential pardon published Sunday morning said the amnesty was granted to "make people feel happy and peaceful, and (promote) national reconciliation during the New Year".

The former junta's routine jailing of dissidents was one of many repressive policies that garnered support for the democracy struggle led by Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD), which swept historic polls in November.

The party is stacked with ex-political prisoners who were jailed for their activism under the former military regime.

Suu Kyi, who spent some 15 years under house arrest during the dark junta days, oversaw her government's first amnesty push earlier this month, when authorities dropped charges against nearly 200 political activists ahead of the New Year holiday.

The former quasi-civilian government that replaced junta rule in 2011 also freed hundreds of political detainees, but oversaw the detention of scores more.

  • Families reunited -Local media aired joyful reunion scenes as released prisoners left jails across the country, carrying small bags of belongings and joining loved ones in song outside the prison gates.

Among those pardoned Sunday were five journalists handed 10-year sentences in 2014 over a report accusing the military of producing chemical weapons -- which the government denied.

The journalists' sentence, which was later reduced to seven years, was slammed by rights groups as "outrageously harsh".

"We have been looking forward to hearing good news from this new government," Yarzar Oo, one of the reporters from Unity Weekly News, told AFP by phone after his release from Pakokku Prison in Magway region.

The group was greeted with flowers by their relatives, who gathered at the prison the night before after learning of their release, he said.

Others seen released in local media reports included Htin Lin Oo, a writer and former NLD information officer, and Htin Kyaw, a well-known democracy activist who shares the president's name and spent more than a decade in and out of the country's notorious prisons.

"The release is welcome, but the NLD needs to release more political prisoners as soon as possible" said Bo Kyi from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a watchdog group that tracks information about the country's prisoners of conscience.

There are still dozens of political prisoners and hundreds of others facing trial, he told AFP.

In a New Year speech Sunday, President Htin Kyaw -- an ally and close friend of Suu Kyi -- stressed his administration's determination to free all political activists facing prosecution.

Suu Kyi is banned from the presidency by a junta-era charter but is guiding her party's government through her seats in the cabinet and a newly-fashioned role as state counsellor.

The novice administration is carrying the hopes of millions of voters hungry for greater freedoms and economic rejuvenation after decades of military strangulation.

But many challenges lie ahead, including a deeply flawed legal system, the military's continuing clout, high poverty rates and civil wars in several ethnic minority states.

zaw/ssm/rb

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Myanmar president pardons 63 political prisoners: watchdog

16 April 2016 - 11:20pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Sunday 4/17/2016 - 06:01 GMT

Myanmar President Htin Kyaw pardoned at least 63 political prisoners on the country's traditional New Year Sunday, according to a watchdog group, in his first major political act since he was sworn in last month.

His fledgling administration, which is steered by veteran democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, has vowed to prioritise freeing the scores of political prisoners jailed by the country's former military rulers.

"According to our documents, 63 political prisoners are released from various prisons by the amnesty of the president," said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

A presidential pardon published Sunday morning said 83 people would be freed, but it did not specify how many were political prisoners.

The president's statement, which was posted on Facebook, said the amnesty was intended to "make people feel happy and peaceful, and (promote) national reconciliation during the New Year".

Myanmar's nearly two-week long New Year holiday, a festival known as Thingyan, falls in mid April.

Suu Kyi's ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), which swept historic November polls, includes many ex-political prisoners jailed for their democracy activism under the former military regime.

The army's routine jailing of dissidents was one of many repressive policies that garnered global support for the NLD's democracy struggle.

Earlier this month, authorities dropped charges against nearly 200 political activists after Suu Kyi pledged to see their release in a statement ahead of the New Year holiday.

The Nobel laureate is banned from the presidency by a junta-era charter but is guiding her party's government through her roles as state counsellor and foreign minister.

In a New Year day speech broadcast on television Sunday, Htin Kyaw -- who is Suu Kyi's close friend and ally -- stressed his administration's determination to free all political activists facing prosecution.

"We are trying to set the political prisoners, political activists and the students who face trials concerned with politics free," the president said in his first lengthy public address since taking office.

zaw/ssm/mtp

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Myanmar president pardons 83 prisoners

16 April 2016 - 11:20pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Sunday 4/17/2016 - 02:37 GMT

Myanmar President Htin Kyaw signed a pardon for 83 prisoners on the country's New Year day, his office said in a statement Sunday, though it was not immediately clear if the amnesty included political prisoners.

Htin Kyaw was tapped earlier this year to become the country's first civilian leader in decades by Aung San Suu Kyi, the veteran democracy activist who still controls the administration but is barred from the presidency by a junta-era charter.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD), which is packed full of former political prisoners jailed for their activism under military rule, ended nearly half a century of army domination when they took power in a historic transition in March.

"The 83 prisoners will be freed by amnesty... on the first day of Myanmar's New Year," read the president's statement, which was posted on Facebook Sunday morning.

The pardon was intended to "make people feel happy and peaceful, and [promote] national reconciliation during the New Year", it added.

Suu Kyi, who spent some 15 years under house arrest, pledged in a statement earlier this month to make releasing prisoners of conscience a priority of her administration.

Since the NLD took power, authorities have dropped charges against nearly 200 political activists, according to police, including dozens of students who spent more than a year in jail over an education protest.

In a New Year day speech broadcast on television, Htin Kyaw stressed his government's determination to release political prisoners, who were routinely jailed under the military leaders that strangled free expression in Myanmar for decades.

"We are trying to set the political prisoners, political activists and the students who face trials concerned with politics free," the president said in his first lengthy public address since taking office.

Htin Kyaw was little known outside his home country before taking office, but is a longtime friend and close aide of Suu Kyi.

Despite being blocked from the presidency, she wields formal power over the government through her newly-fashioned role as state counsellor, which the NLD created for Suu Kyi through their hefty majority in parliament.

She has also taken on several cabinet posts, including foreign minister.

The jailing of dissidents was one of many repressive policies by the former junta that garnered global support for Suu Kyi's democracy struggle.

Watchdog groups in Myanmar say there are still hundreds of activists facing trial or being held in the country's notorious prisons, many of them arrested under the quasi-civilian government that stepped down last month after five years of transitioning the country from junta rule.

Myanmar’s new year holiday, a Buddhist celebration known as Thingyan, falls in mid April and sees most offices close while people line the streets to douse each other with water to wash off the past year’s sins.

zaw/ssm/ds

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Myanmar / Burma, India, Bangladesh - 6.9 Mw Earthquake - ECHO Daily Map | 14/04/2016

16 April 2016 - 7:55pm
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar

Situation

• An earthquake of magnitude 6.9 M at a depth of 135 km occurred in mid-eastern Myanmar on 13 April at 13.55 UTC. The epicentre was located approx. 74 km south-east of Mawlaik city (Myanmar/Burma) and 103 km north-west of Shwebo city (Myanmar/Burma). The earthquake was also felt across India and Bangladesh. USGS PAGER estimated that 745 000 people were exposed to "Strong" and 5 877 000 people to "Moderate" shaking.

• In Myanmar/Burma, local media report several homes damaged, as of 14 April.

• In India, local media report two people dead and more than 70 injured, as well as several homes damaged in the state of Assam,as of 14 April. There have also been reports on injuries and damage in the states of Manipur, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal, as of the same date

• In Bangladesh, local media report at least 50 people injured and several homes damaged mostly in the city of Chittagong, as of 14 April.

Myanmar: Where are the Rohingya boat survivors now?

15 April 2016 - 2:57pm
Source: IRIN Country: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand

No happy ending for Myanmar refugees

By Jonathan Vit

When Malaysia allowed hundreds of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants abandoned by their smugglers and left adrift on the Andaman Sea to come ashore last May, it marked the end of a regional diplomatic stalemate that had left thousands of lives in the balance and garnered international headlines.

Read the full article on IRIN

Myanmar: AHA Centre Flash Update: Myanmar Earthquake, 15 April 2016

15 April 2016 - 5:56am
Source: Association of Southeast Asian Nations Country: Myanmar

MYANMAR. A 6.8 M earthquake occurred on 13 April 2016 at 20:27 (UTC +6.5) with the epicentre located about 180 km (112 miles), north-west of Mandalay Observation Station, and 67.60 km (42 miles) east, southeast of Ka Lay Township according to Myanmar’s Department of Meteorology and Hydrology. The earthquake’s impact was concentrated in the Sagaing Region.

No casualties were reported as of 12:00 noon of April 14. The following 5 Townships were affected, Monywa, Chaung U, Yinmabin, Sarlingyi and Ka Ni. 18 religious building suffered damages with most occurring in Ka Ni, with reported 9 partially damaged Pagodas and Stupas.

Other impacts in the Township of Ka Ni are the collapsed ceiling of the Maternal and Children Healthcare Association building and a small-scale fire on the electrification cable line. The concrete fence of the State High School in Monywa City also collapsed. The continued close monitoring of the landslide dam in Ton Zang Township, Chin State by the local authorities revealed no threats of failure at this time.

The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Information, other Ministries concerned, State and Region Governments, CSOs and academia are presently implementing information sharing and community safety measures to ensure rapid response and immediate conduct of SAR activities.

Pending a drastic change in the situation, this will be the final flash update on the earthquake in Myanmar.

World: Polio this week as of 13 April 2016

14 April 2016 - 4:39pm
Source: Global Polio Eradication Initiative Country: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Ukraine, World
  • The World Health Assembly (WHA) Report on Poliomyelitis has been published. The report summarises the status against the Polio Endgame Plan and Resolution WHA68.3, adopted by the WHA in May 2015.

  • Canada has announced a contribution of $ 40 million Canadian Dollars to support the eradication of polio in Pakistan over the next three years.

  • The globally synchronized switch from the trivalent to bivalent oral polio vaccine, the first stage of objective 2 of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 will start on 17 April 2016. Learn more about preparations for the switch here. Learn more about the rationale for the switch through this series of videos.

Myanmar: When can we go home? Meeting the displaced in northern Myanmar

14 April 2016 - 1:40pm
Source: Trócaire Country: Myanmar

By John Smith, Head of Outreach

Trócaire's John Smith shares his recent experiences visiting camps for people displaced by conflict in Kachin State, Myanmar.

The men around me are mostly wearing jumpers.

I am in a t-shirt and it is quite hot. I’m sweating.

The whiteboard above me to the left is full of numbers. 67 individuals from one village, 52 from another. The list of the villages runs all the way down the board. There must be over 20 villages represented on the list.

In the total column on the bottom right one can establish how many people are living here in St Joseph Maina camp.

1,234 individuals are packed here into this IDP (Internally displaced people) camp.

The group in front of us, made up or around 10 men and 3 women, speak about life at the camp.

Trócaire's work here is focused on water, sanitation and hygiene. All of these issues are addressed, and it is clear the impact this work is having. The group is well organised. They have a youth representative, a security representative, and much more.

This reflects our work on building the capacity of the people living in these camps.

After some further discussion, Birke Herzbruch, Trócaire’s Myanmar Country Director, asks whether any of the camp committee want to ask us any questions.

One of the men, who, despite the heat is wearing a woolly hat and a warm jacket with long sleeves asks “When will we be able to go home?”

Over the course of the previous two days I have heard again and again that people just want peace, and to be able to return home.

They want to return to their farms. They want to leave these cramped and often dangerous camps, where some have been for four years now.

But this question was different. This was not just an aspiration to leave the camp. This question was built upon trust. The trust in that man’s eyes as he asked Birke when he could leave has stayed with me. But what are the chances of him returning home?

In 2011 the conflict again erupted in Kachin State, in the north of Myanmar, a country of 51 million people, up to 70% of who are estimated to live by agriculture.

But this conflict is not simply an ethnic conflict, as some would present it.

What first began as a struggle for independence, or at least greater autonomy for the region and its people, has now turned into a war economy.

The jade mining business sets the military against the KIA/KIO (Kachin Independence Army), and is a significant driver of the conflict.

A recent report estimated that in 2014 the Myanmar jade trade was worth $31billion, almost 50% of the GDP of the country.

But, of course, the local Kachin farmers, many of who make up the over 100,000 of people living in IDP camps, see little of this abundance.

Even when these farmers can return home, their land is often not there waiting for them. Jade mines, banana plantations, logging and land confiscation are just some of the ways in which land has been misappropriated.

Some land laws go back to 19th-century British Imperial India rule, and often there is little recompense for farmers. Expectations are high that the new Land Use Policy will provide redemption.

The camps are littered around Myitkyina (the capital of Kachin State), a city 777 miles to the north of Yangon.

Another camp we visited, Nawng Pong, had 327 registered as living there.

About 15 of the women living in the camp met with us in what appeared to be a room that otherwise would have housed the children for school. An airy space lent itself to these passionate and articulate women as they told us about their life in the camp.

The new latrines had made a big difference, and health had improved there, though their food rations were not enough.

Despite that, the air appeared light with a sense of hope. Hope that the recently elected NLD (National League for Democracy) and their leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, could bring a lasting peace and return them home.

Nonetheless, a walk around the camp, and some of the women going about their daily tasks were more circumspect. A sadness was evident. Over four years living in a camp with cramped living spaces and little by way of opportunity to grow crops and provide a livelihood; these circumstances conspired to demonstrate that, even amidst the resilience and hope of these women, life was extremely difficult. And where were the men? Many, they told us, had left for the jade mines.

The man with the trusting eyes had left his question linger in the air. It was a question that in a sense could not be answered.

Birke addressed it nonetheless. We are hopeful she tells the man. Some families are already returning home. But we don’t know when everyone can go home. Nevertheless, she goes on, we will stay with you. Trócaire will help you to provide for yourself and your families in this camp, and when it is time to go home, we will help you and your families to return to a normal life. When it comes to rebuilding your livelihoods, we will stay with you. Trócaire is here for the long term.

For five years I travelled to schools around Ireland talking about Trócaire’s work. I spoke with teachers and students about how we work through partners, about how we respond to emergencies, and when the emergency is over, we stay with communities to help them rebuild their lives. I said this many times.

But on this day, in St. Joseph Maina camp, Kachin State in northern Myanmar, I saw grown men nod their heads in hope when our partner translated Birke’s words of reassurance.

In this moment, I saw solidarity in a new way, a way that I will not forget.

Myanmar: Myanmar, India, Bangladesh - Earthquake (ECHO, GDACS, USGS, Local Media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 14 April 2016)

14 April 2016 - 8:28am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar

An earthquake of magnitude 6.9 M at a depth of 135 km occurred in mid-eastern Myanmar on 13 April at 13.55 UTC. The epicentre was located approx. 74 km south-east of Mawlaik city and 103 km north-west of Shwebo city. The earthquake was also felt across India and Bangladesh. USGS PAGER estimated that 745 000 people were exposed to "Strong" and 5 877 000 people to "Moderate" shaking.

In Myanmar, there have been no reports of damage or casualties so far, as of 14 April early morning (UTC).

In India, local media report dozens of people injured and several homes damaged in the states of Assam, Manipur, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal, as of 14 April early morning (UTC).

In Bangladesh, local media report at least 50 people injured and several homes damaged mostly in the city of Chittagong, and Sylhet as of 14 April early morning (UTC).

World: Countries Affected by 2015 - 2016 El Nino -13 April 2016

14 April 2016 - 5:25am
Source: Logistics Cluster Country: World, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Cambodia, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe

Myanmar: Statement by the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator A.I. in Myanmar, Janet Jackson [EN/MY]

14 April 2016 - 4:09am
Source: UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Myanmar Country: Myanmar

(YANGON: 14 April 2016). A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the Sagaing region in north- western Myanmar on 13 April at 20:27 local time (13:55 UTC, 13 April 2016). The United Nations and partners are working closely with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, in particular with the Department of Relief and Resettlement and local authorities as well as with the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology to determine the impact of the earthquake.

The earthquake struck at 134 Km depth with the location of the epicenter in a sparsely populated area, which may have limited damage caused. Information is still incomplete and the area impacted remote. Although no deaths or major damage to infrastructure has been reported, the UN and humanitarian partners are closely monitoring the situation in support to national authorities. Teams on the ground continue the initial assessments and the collection relevant information.

The United Nations stands ready to support the Government and the people of Myanmar in responding to the earthquake should support be requested.

Myanmar: AHA Centre Flash Update: Myanmar Earthquake, 14 April 2016

14 April 2016 - 3:40am
Source: Association of Southeast Asian Nations Country: Myanmar

MYANMAR. A 6.8 M earthquake occurred on 13 April 2016 at 20:25 (UTC +6:30). The epicentre is located about 180 km, north-west of Mandalay Observation Station, and 67.60 km east southeast of Kalay Township as reported by Myanmar’s Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.

Current government assessment results state that 3 religious structures (Stupas and Pagodas) near Ka Ni Ta Township suffered substantial damages with most of the upper structures collapsing to the ground. Residences in the area were not affected. Other damaged structures include the community building for Women, Maternal and Childcare Association with a collapsed rooftop measuring about 16 feet.

In other areas, initial reports from the State and the Regional Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD) offices also state no casualties and heavy damages. The government also gave particular attention to the natural dam that was created by a landslide and flooding last year in the Chin State. Initial assessment has shown that the area was not affected by the earthquake and is safe from possible dam failure. Monitoring of this landslide dam is ongoing. Aside from the ongoing assessments and monitoring, the RRDs are ready to respond and deploy in case of any reported seriously affected communities.

Myanmar: Pagodas damaged, but no deaths in Myanmar quake

14 April 2016 - 2:44am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Thursday 4/14/2016 - 07:31 GMT

Myanmar appeared to have escaped with only minor damage to buildings after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake that rattled its remote north, police said Thursday, as early reports said there not had been any casualties.

The quake, which struck late Wednesday more than 130 kilometres (80 miles) below the surface, was felt from China to Bangladesh, where scores of people were injured in stampedes as panic spread.

But initial surveys suggested the damage was limited in Myanmar, according to an official from Sagaing province, around 100 kilometres from the epicentre.

"We have no casualties although there was some small damage to pagodas in villages," a police official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

"People are now enjoying the water festival," he added, referencing the Buddhist new year celebrated across the region.

Myanmar's relief department posted on its Facebook page that "there were no casualties, injuries or major damage to buildings because of (the) earthquake".

A second, unnamed policeman in the capital Naypyidaw said emergency checks on the quake-rattled zone had so far revealed no serious damage to buildings.

"It seems like there was not so much damage from the quake," the officer told AFP.

"But we are releasing instructions of 'dos and don'ts' if earthquakes occur in the future."

Wednesday's quake rippled out to Bangladesh, which shares a border with Myanmar.

More than 80 people in the country were injured, mostly in stampedes, as panicked residents fled their homes and offices, local television reported.

In neighbouring India, tremors were felt in several northeastern cities, while Chinese state media said some residents in the Tibetan city of Lhasa ran out into the streets in panic.

Earthquakes are relatively common in Myanmar, but the country has not seen a major quake since November 2012, when a powerful 6.8 magnitude tremor struck the centre of the country, killing 26 people and injuring hundreds.

Crumbling infrastructure and poor urban planning have made the country's most populous areas vulnerable to earthquakes and other disasters, experts say.

Myanmar regularly suffers tropical storms, droughts and floods, while the Sagaing faultline that bisects the country from its northern hills to southern coast causes sporadic earthquakes.

hla/apj/cah

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Myanmar - Earthquake of the 13 April 2016, Mw 6.9 | Analysis of population exposure

14 April 2016 - 12:46am
Source: UNOSAT Country: Myanmar

Overview

An earthquake of 6.9 Magnitude struck Myanmar the 13 April 2016 13:55 UTC (20:25 local time) with an epicentre located in the Sagaing region in the central part of Myanmar.

Population exposure estimates are based on Earthquake’s related moderate to strong shake areas deduced from USGS peak acceleration data.

57,590,000 Total population of Myanmar

6,403,404 Total population living in Moderate to Strong Shake Zones

Myanmar: AHA Centre Flash Update: Myanmar Earthquake, 13 April 2016

13 April 2016 - 1:31pm
Source: Association of Southeast Asian Nations Country: Myanmar

MYANMAR. A 6.8 M earthquake with a depth of 134 km occurred on 13 April 2016 at 19:55 (UTC +8). The epicentre is located 100 km (62 miles) north-northwest of the city of Monywa and 385 kilometers (239 miles) northwest of the capital Naypyidaw. Tremors were felt through Myanmar, north and eastern India, Bangladesh and parts of Nepal.

The strong tremors have caused panic in residential areas. However, initial information states that the epicenter was located in the jungle far from densely populated areas.

The Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD) of Myanmar, is continuously collecting reports and information. As of this time, no reports of casualties and damages were received. Assessment is ongoing.

Myanmar: Strong quake hits northern Myanmar, shakes neighbouring countries

13 April 2016 - 10:46am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Wednesday 4/13/2016 - 21:34 GMT

by Hla-Hla HTAY

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck Myanmar on Wednesday, causing tremors around the region, including in neighbouring Bangladesh where scores were reported injured in stampedes and buildings were damaged.

The quake, which took place at a depth of 134 kilometres (83 miles), hit some 400 kilometres northwest of Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), and was also felt in parts of India and China.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, although the region where the earthquake hit has poor communications infrastructure like many of Myanmar's outlying provinces.

A lawmaker from the Sagaing region, some 100 kilometres from the epicentre, told AFP she felt rough tremors that lasted for several minutes.

"There may be some destruction and damage. But it's difficult to know the (extent) of destruction at nighttime," Cho Cho Win said, adding that the town does not have many high-rise buildings.

Tin Nyo, 67, from another township in Sagaing, said the earthquake was the strongest she had ever felt.

"Although it happened over a short period, it was really rough," she said.

Some in Yangon -- Myanmar's former capital and biggest city -- who also reported feeling tremors fled their multi-story apartment buildings in fear.

The quake was also strongly felt across Bangladesh, which shares a border with Myanmar.

More than 80 people in the country were injured, mostly in stampedes as panicked residents fled their homes and offices, Channel 24 reported.

In the port city of Chittagong, some 200 kilometres from the Myanmar border, at least four buildings stood on a slant following the quake.

"Around 50 people were injured in the Chittagong city, including 24 who were admitted to hospital with minor injuries. They were mostly injured in stampedes," the city's police constable Imran Hossain told AFP.

Traffic ground to a halt in parts of the capital Dhaka as tens of thousands of alarmed residents rushed into the streets.

  • 'Let's get out!' -

In neighbouring India, tremors were felt in the northeastern cities of Kolkata, Shillong, Guwahati and Patnam.

In Kolkata, one of India's largest cities, startled residents ran from their houses after the trembling.

"I was inside, working and then suddenly I felt the ground shaking," local resident Chiranjeet Ghosh told television news channels.

"People started yelling 'Something is happening, let's get out!' and we immediately rushed out."

"I came out and saw that everyone else around here had already evacuated their homes and poured onto the streets."

Residents in Kolkata reported seeing cracks appearing in buildings following the quake, and the city's metro was suspended for a few minutes.

Strong tremors were also felt in Tibet, with some residents of Lhasa out on the streets, Chinese official news agency Xinhua said.

Earthquakes are relatively common in Myanmar, where six strong quakes of 7.0 magnitude or more struck between 1930 and 1956 near the Sagaing Fault, which runs north to south through the centre of the country, according to the USGS.

Myanmar has not seen a major quake since November 2012, when a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the centre of the country, killing 26 people and injuring hundreds.

The impoverished Southeast Asian nation, which is emerging from decades of military rule, has a strained medical system, especially in its rural states.

The breakneck pace of development in Myanmar's cities, combined with crumbling infrastructure and poor urban planning, has also made the country's most populous areas vulnerable to earthquakes and other disasters, experts say.

In 2015, severe flooding swept across swaths of Myanmar, including the region where Wednesday's earthquake hit, leaving more than 100 people dead and affecting thousands as rescuers struggled to reach isolated regions.

ssm-sa/jv/grf

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Magnitude 6.9 quake hits northern Myanmar: USGS

13 April 2016 - 10:46am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Wednesday 4/13/2016 - 14:22 GMT

Myanmar was struck by a magnitude 6.9 quake on Wednesday, the US Geological Survey reported, with tremors felt around the region, including in neighbouring India and China.

The quake, which was 134 kilometres (214 miles) deep, hit some 396 kilometres north northwest of the capital Naypyidaw, according to the USGS.

Much of Myanmar's outlying provinces have poor communications infrastructure, including the area where the earthquake hit.

However there were no immediate reports of casualties.

A lawmaker from Mawlite in Sagaing region, some 100 kilometres away from the epicentre, told AFP she felt rough tremors that lasted for several minutes.

"There may be some destruction and damage. But it's difficult to know the [extent] of destruction at night time," Cho Cho Win said, adding that the town does not have many high rise buildings.

Tin Nyo, 67, from Minkin, also in Sagaing, said it was the strongest earthquake she had ever felt.

"I have never experienced that kind of big earthquake in my lifetime. Although it happened over a short period, it was really rough," she told AFP.

In India, tremors were felt in the northeastern cities of Kolkata, Shillong, Guwahati and Patnam.

In Kolkata, one of India's biggest cities, people spilled out of their houses on to the streets, an AFP reporter said.

"I was inside, working and then suddenly I felt the ground shaking," local resident Chiranjeet Ghosh told television news channels.

"People started yelling 'something is happening, let's get out!' and we immediately rushed out.

"I came out and saw that everyone else around here had already evacuated their homes and poured onto the streets."

Residents in Kolkata also reported seeing cracks appearing in buildings following the quake, while the city's metro was suspended for a few minutes.

Chinese official news agency Xinhua said strong tremors were felt in Tibet, with some residents of Lhasa out on the streets.

Earthquakes are relatively common in Myanmar, though the country has not seen a major quake since 2012.

In November of that year a powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit the centre of the country, killing nearly 40 people and injuring hundreds.

The impoverished Southeast Asian nation, which is emerging from decades of military rule, has weak infrastructure and a strained medical system, especially in its rural states.

The breakneck pace of development in Myanmar's cities, combined with crumbling infrastructure and poor urban planning has made the country's most populous areas more vulnerable to the dangers of earthquakes and other disasters, experts say.

Last November more than 100 people died when a huge landslide in northern Kachin state hit a jade mining region. It took days for authorities to pull the scores of bodies from the rubble.

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