Aid agencies said they feared the death toll from a powerful earthquake in northeastern Myanmar Thursday night could climb further after government authorities reported at least 70 people were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed.
The quake struck just north of the trading hub of Tachileik, in a mountainous region near Myanmar's border with Thailand, and was measured at 6.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey. Tremors could be felt as far off as Hanoi, nearly 400 miles away, and Bangkok, more than 450 miles away, where tall buildings swayed. There was no tsunami as the earthquake occurred far inland.
A major concern of relief agencies is that it is often hard to get reliable information about disasters until long after they occur in Myanmar, which is controlled by a secretive, military-backed government with a history of blocking foreign aid workers from roaming freely. The government in 2008 was widely criticized internationally for delaying requests for help after Cyclone Nargis rammed into the country, killing around 130,000 people.