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Powerful quake in Myanmar kills more than 70

YANGON, Myanmar — A powerful earthquake that toppled homes in northeastern Myanmar has killed more than 70 people, and there were fears Friday the toll would mount as conditions in more remote areas became known.

The Thursday night quake, measured at magnitude 6.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey, was centered just north of Tachileik in Shan state near the Thai border. It was felt hundreds of miles away in the Thai capital, Bangkok, and the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.

Myanmar state radio announced Friday that 73 people had been killed and 111 injured. It said 390 houses, 14 Buddhist monasteries and nine government buildings were damaged.

On the Thai side of the border, one woman was killed in Mae Sai when a wall fell on her, according to Thai police.

In Myanmar, significant damage was reported in the villages around Tachileik, including to bridges and roads, complicating relief efforts.

A U.N. official said a small hospital and bridge were damaged in the nearby town of Tarlay, making it difficult to reach the town. The private relief agency World Vision said water tanks and wells were also damaged, making water scarce.

The U.N. official spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Myanmar's government frowns on giving unauthorized information to the media.

In 2008, the government delayed reporting on and asking for help with devastating Cyclone Nargis, which killed 130,000. The junta was widely criticized for what were called inadequate preparations and a slow response.

Powerful quake in Myanmar kills more than 70 03/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 25, 2011 9:18pm]
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