Quake measuring 6.3 cracks roads in north Thailand, at least 1 killed

Buddha statues damaged, roads split and some structural damage as shallow quake measuring 6.3 claims at least one life in Thailand's north

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2014, 11:08am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2014, 1:59pm

Officials said on Tuesday that one person was killed and several dozen were hurt after an earthquake struck northern Thailand and Myanmar on Monday, smashing windows, cracking walls and roads and damaging Buddhist temples.

The airport in the northern city of Chiang Rai, near the epicentre of the shallow magnitude 6.3 temblor, evacuated people from its terminal, where display signs and pieces of the ceiling fell. There was no damage to the runway or flight disruptions, airport General Manager Damrong Klongakara said.

A well-known temple near the city, the all-white Wat Rongkhun, was closed due to safety concerns after the earthquake.

“The spire of the main building came off and the tiles on the roof fell off,” Chalermchai Kositpiphat, the artist who designed the temple, told Nation TV. “I still don’t know how we can sleep tonight ... It was shaking the whole time and then aftershocks followed four to five times.”

Anusorn Kaewkangwan, the deputy director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department told reporters on Tuesday that an 83-year-old woman in Chiang Rai’s Mae Lao district was killed when the brick walls of her house collapsed onto her during the quake.

Anusorn said about 25 people were slightly injured, mostly from fallen ceilings or items in their houses.

Thailand’s Meteorological Department said it was a magnitude-6.3 quake. The US Geological Survey measured it at 6.0 and said the epicentre was 9 kilometres south of Mae Lao and 27 kilometres southwest of Chiang Rai. Its depth was a relatively shallow 7.4 kilometres. Shallow quakes often cause more damage.

Southeast Asia is seismically active and quakes are often felt in surrounding nations. Thailand has several faults, though in recent times quakes centred in the country have been less severe than those in other Southeast Asian nations, such as Myanmar and Indonesia.

A 9.1-magnitude earthquake off Indonesia’s Sumatra island on December 26, 2004, triggered an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 8,000 people in Thailand’s coastal areas, among its overall death toll of 240,000.

The last earthquake in Thailand approaching the size of Monday’s quake registered magnitude 5.1 on December 13, 2006, in Chiang Mai province.