Burmese officials say that at least five people are dead and several are missing after a strong earthquake hit northern Burma Sunday, causing terrified residents to flee swaying buildings.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.6-magnitude quake hit before 8 a.m. local time, 117 kilometers north of the city of Mandalay, at a depth of just 10 kilometers. The shallow quake was felt in Bangkok, the capital of neighboring Thailand. The earthquake was followed by aftershocks.
So far, the worst damage reported was a bridge under construction that partially collapsed. Some construction workers on the bridge being built across the Irrawaddy River east of Shwebo were reported to be missing. There was also minor damage to pagodas and other structures in the area.
The quake comes just a week ahead of a scheduled visit to Burma by U.S. President Barack Obama. He will be the first U.S. president to visit the one-time pariah nation, which is emerging from decades of military dictatorship.