The Star, 6 May 2014
BANGKOK: An elderly woman died and 23 other people were injured after a strong earthquake shook northern Thailand, an official said Tuesday, as aftershocks continued to rattle the mountainous region popular with tourists.
The 83-year-old woman died when a wall in her house collapsed after the 6.0-magnitude struck quake on Monday afternoon, according to an official at the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department in Bangkok.
“Twenty-three people were also injured in separate incidents caused by the quake,” the official told AFP, without giving further details.
The quake, which struck at a shallow depth of just 7.4 kilometres (4.5 miles), had its epicentre in the remote Phan district of Chiang Rai province, geologists said, and was felt hundreds of miles to the south in Bangkok and even in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon.
“Since last evening (Monday) there were six large aftershocks with a magnitude between 5.0 to 5.9 and the last was this morning,” Burin Wechbunthung, of the Meteorological Department told AFP, adding there were a dozen smaller tremors.
Residents on Monday said they had seen cracked building facades, broken shop windows and damage to roads, while power was cut for several hours in Phan.
The area is a remote mountain retreat near the border with Myanmar and Laos and popular with foreign visitors.
The quake was felt in the tourist hub city of Chiang Mai 160 kilometres (100 miles) southwest of Chiang Rai and as far away as Bangkok, 800 kilometres to the south, where tall buildings shook for several seconds.
Map of Thailand locating the epicentre of a 6.0-magnitude quake that struck on Monday
Major earthquakes are rare in Thailand, although tremors often strike the north of the country.
A 6.8-magnitude quake hit Myanmar’s eastern state of Shan in March 2011, leaving dozens dead near the border with Thailand and Laos and reducing homes and government buildings to rubble.
The area hit in 2011 is close to Chiang Rai and prompted the then-government to call for a review of Thailand’s preparedness for a major seismic event. – AFP