Quake Hits Near Small Tourist Town
A strong earthquake shook northern Thailand and Myanmar on Monday evening. No casualities have been reported as of yet. The quake did damage buildings, sidewalks, break windows, and pillars on buildings.
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The magnitude 6.3 earthquake has hit northern Thailand on Monday afternoon, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. The quake struck just after 6pm local time -- and was focused approximately 27 kilometers from the mountainous northern city of Chiang Rai. The area is a remote mountain retreat near the border with Myanmar and survives from a local economy of tourists who visit each year.
"So far there are no reports of injured or dead," head of the disaster mitigation department in Chaing Rai province, Manat Khamtai, said.
"In Phan there's a report that a school building has been cracked and the power is still out across the district."
A temple in Wat Rongkhun was closed after concerns of structural damage to the building. There has been no word on when it will be reopened for visitors to enter.
"The spire of the main building came off and the tiles on the roof fell off," Chalermchai Kositpiphat, the artist who built 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. It will bring more damages each time an aftershock happens, I'm afraid."
"The murals are also damaged because the pillars were shaken badly," Chalermchai said. "I don't know how many years it will take me to fix it. ... It was tumbling like the Earth was going to explode."
Officials were warning residents about aftershocks that could be taking place over the next few days. Already there have been several with-in 150 kilometers of the epicenter radius, according to ABC News Australia.
"This is the most powerful earthquake to strike the country in recent times," Burin Wechbunthung, a seismologist at the meteorological department, said.
The last quake in Thailand approaching a similar size to Monday's was one of 5.1 magnitude on Dec. 13, 2006, in the northern province of Chiang Mai.