6.8 quake strikes Myanmar's Shwebo area, 13 dead: NGO


A man looks at the facade of Mandalay's highest building, the 25-story Mann Myanmar Plaza, from where several window panes are missing after they fell following a 6.8-magnitude quake, which hit some 72 miles north of the country's second-largest city of Mandalay on November 11, 2012.



A 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit northern Myanmar early today, killing 13 people and wounding 40, according to the Save the Children charity organization, reported CNN

Officials have not yet released an exact toll, but Save the Children operates in Myanmar, said CNN

The Associated Press, gathering data from scattered local reports, earlier said at least 12 people were believed killed. 

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The quake hit at 7:42 a.m. local time, its epicenter traced to the Shwebo area, a town some 72 miles south of the north's bustling Mandalay city, which does not appear to have been severely affected, said AP

Two 5.0 aftershocks followed the earthquake, which also rattled neighboring Thailand, said BBC News, prompting a yellow alert ("some casualties and damage are possible") from the US Geological Survey. 

A Shwebo bridge still under construction collapsed in the quake, said AP, and further damage is suspected to the region's rich mining industry. Local media said several mines had caved in. 

China's Xinhua said several buildings and schools had been destroyed by the quake, adding that it had shaken a number of other Myanmar areas, listing Kaw Lin, Honealin, Mandalay, Pin Oo Lwin, Maw Like, Minmu, Monywa, Moenyin, Pakokku and Meikthila. 

Ancient Buddhist temples also fell victim to the quake, with Buddha images affixed to the top of some temples, referred to as an "umbrella," reportedly crashing down in Mogok village, according to AP, adding that superstitious locals regard such events as a bad omen.

Today's quake was only 6.2 miles deep, according to the US Geological Survey.

Last March, another 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit near Myanmar's China border, killing some 75 people, CNN cited Myanmar Radio as reporting. 

US President Barack Obama is set to make a historic visit to Myanmar later this month.