25 March 2011
Tearfund partners in the Mekong Sub Region are today assessing ways they can help people hit by strong earthquakes in north east Myanmar (Burma).
Three powerful tremors struck close to northern Thailand and the border with Laos yesterday, with initial reports indicating more than 100 people had died.
One of the biggest losses of life was at a church in north east Myanmar where the whole building collapsed killing 25 members and injuring 50 others.
State television in Myanmar says 100 buildings have collapsed and 150 people have been injured.
The epicentre was 69 miles north of Chiang Rai in neighbouring Thailand but damage here is said to be limited, although aftershocks were felt across a wide area, causing considerable panic.
Tremors were felt in central Myanmar, Bangkok, parts of Laos and as far away as the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, leading to the evacuation of several tall buildings and offices.
Tearfund has three partners in the Mekong Sub-Region, which are based in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and south west China, that are close to the affected area.
The director of one partner said, ‘We’ve never experienced such a strong earthquake before. Residents rushed out, panicked and didn’t know what to do.
‘Churches are right there in the affected area and could be best placed to bring relief and hope to affected people.’
Partner staff are today assessing aid needs and how they can respond but accessing the affected area isn’t easy, with at least one bridge collapsing. Sources say, Talu, a Shan ethnic minority town has been completely destroyed.