At Least 12 Dead In Burma Quake

Posted November 11th, 2012 at 6:20 am (UTC-5)
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Local officials say at least 12 people are feared dead after a strong earthquake hit northern Burma Sunday, causing terrified residents to flee swaying buildings.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.8-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.

The region surrounding the epicenter is undeveloped and reports from different areas are conflicting and coming in sporadically.

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 and are feared dead. 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.