Death toll from Myanmar quake hits 26

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 5:54pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 5:57pm

A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Myanmar at the weekend has left 26 people dead, 12 others missing and about 230 injured, according to a new toll given by the Red Cross on Tuesday.

“In total, 26 people have died so far,” Myanmar Red Cross Society deputy general secretary Aung Kyaw Htut told reporters. “We have provided tarpaulin sheets to some of the victims and they are staying in temporary shelters.”

Previously the toll had stood at 13 dead, according to aid agencies.

The Red Cross said 251 houses were destroyed in Sunday’s quake, which sent terrified people running from their homes in the country’s second-biggest city of Mandalay and surrounding villages.

The tremor also damaged 22 hospitals, 137 religious buildings, 48 government offices and four schools, it said.

The town of Thabeikkyin suffered significant damage in the area near the epicentre of the earthquake.

Patients at the local hospital were being treated in tents outside amid fears buildings could be vulnerable to further tremors.

The quake came little more than a week before US President Barack Obama is due in Myanmar on a historic visit, as the West rolls back sanctions to reward dramatic reforms under a new regime that replaced outright army rule last year.

A series of strong aftershocks has rattled the nation. A 4.8-magnitude quake struck on Tuesday close to the government’s showpiece capital Naypyidaw, according to the US Geological Survey.