BANGKOK (AlertNet) – Food and shelter are the most urgent needs for families affected by the 6.8-magnitude earthquake which struck central Myanmar on Sunday morning, an officer for the Myanmar Red Cross told AlertNet on Tuesday.
The death toll from the quake, which hit about 37 miles (60km) northwest of Myanmar’s second-biggest city, Mandalay, has risen to 26 people, according to a Bangkok-based spokesperson for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Another 231 people were injured.
More than 450 buildings were also damaged. It was also felt in Thailand and other neighbouring countries.
Aftershocks continued to rattle residents in central Myanmar on Monday but none were felt on Tuesday, Phone Kyaw, who is responsible for the Red Cross volunteers in Mandalay, said over the phone from there.
“Many people in towns and villages are scared to stay in their houses so they are staying out in the open in makeshift structures with tarpaulin roofs,” he said. There are about 100 households living like this in Thabeik Kyin, one of the seven most affected townships, he said.
“Villages that haven’t been affected by the quake have been helping with food but what the (quake victims) most urgently need are food and shelter,” he added.
State television reported another earthquake near Myanmar’s new capital Naypyitaw on Tuesday although there were no immediate reports of damage.
MRTV television said the new quake of 4.8-magnitude hit at 8:23 a.m. (0153 GMT). Its epicentre was about 35 miles (56 km) south of the capital.
In 2008 humanitarian agencies condemned the then-military junta for initially refusing international help to cope with Cyclone Nargis. One of the worst natural disasters in Myanmar’s recent history, it killed more than 130,000 people.
A quasi-civilian government which took over in March 2011 has opened up the country to both humanitarian aid agencies and investors since then.