Major earthquake in Italy, followed by another in Myanmar

AMATRICE — A magnitude 6 earthquake shook central Italy early on Wednesday close to Rome, followed hours later by a magnitude 6.8 temblor in Myanmar destroying Buddhist pagodas, a major tourist attraction.

The devastating earthquake rocked central Italy early Wednesday, collapsing homes on top of residents as they slept. At least 73 people were killed in hard-hit towns where rescue crews raced to dig survivors out of the rubble, but the toll was likely to rise as crews reached homes in more remote hamlets.

“The town isn’t here anymore,” said Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of Amatrice.

The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome, where residents felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. The temblor was felt from the Lazio region into Umbria and Le Marche on the Adriatic coast.

The hardest-hit towns were Amatrice, Accumoli near near Rieti, some 100 kilometres northeast of Rome, and Pescara del Tronto further east. Lots of significant historical buildings in the area are reported to be damaged.

On the other side of the globe, a powerful earthquake measuring magnitude 6.8 shook central Myanmar, damaging scores of ancient Buddhist pagodas in the former capital of Bagan, a major tourist attraction, officials said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centred about 25 kilometres west of Chauk, an area west of Bagan. It was located fairly far below the Earth’s surface at a depth of about 84 kilometres , it said. Deep earthquakes generally cause less surface damage.

However, at least 65 centuries-old brick pagodas in Bagan were damaged, the Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs said in a statement. Bagan, also known as Pagan, has hundreds of such structures.

Dr. Myo Thant, general secretary of the Myanmar Earthquake Committee, said other areas apparently were not badly affected and there were no reports of deaths.

However, a firefighter in Pakokku, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information, said a woman there was reportedly killed. The report could not immediately be confirmed.

The epicenter is an area where earthquakes are fairly common, but usually don’t cause many casualties because there are no large densely populated cities. However, reports of damage from remote villages are often slow to arrive.

Here is a list of some of the world’s deadliest earthquakes since 2000:

April 16, 2016: A magnitude 7.8 earthquake on Ecuador’s central coast near the town of Muisne kills more than 660 people.

April 25, 2015: A magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Nepal kills more than 8,000 people.

Aug. 3, 2014: More than 700 people die in a magnitude 6.2-quake near Wenping, China.

Sept. 24, 2013: A magnitude 7.7 quake strikes southwest Pakistan, killing more than 800 people.

March 11, 2011: A magnitude 9.0 quake off the northeast coast of Japan triggers a tsunami, killing more than 20,000 people.

Feb. 27, 2010: A magnitude 8.8 quake shakes Chile, generating a tsunami and killing 524 people.

Jan. 12, 2010: A magnitude 7.0 quake hits Haiti, killing up to 316,000 people according to government estimates.

Sept. 30, 2009: More than 1,100 people die when a magnitude 7.5 quake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

April 6, 2009: A magnitude 6.3 quake kills more than 300 people in and around L’Aquila, Italy, about 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of the latest quake.

May 12, 2008: A magnitude 7.9 quake strikes eastern Sichuan in China, resulting in over 87,500 deaths.

Aug. 15, 2007: A magnitude 8.0 earthquake near the coast of central Peru kills more than 500 people.

May 26, 2006: More than 5,700 people die when a magnitude 6.3 quake hits the island of Java, Indonesia.

Oct. 8, 2005: A magnitude 7.6 earthquake kills over 80,000 people in Pakistan’s Kashmir region.

March 28, 2005: A magnitude 8.6 quake in northern Sumatra in Indonesia kills about 1,300 people.

Dec. 26, 2004: A magnitude 9.1 quake in Indonesia triggers an Indian Ocean tsunami, killing 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

Dec. 26, 2003: A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits southeastern Iran, resulting in 50,000 deaths.

March 25, 2002: About 1,000 people are killed in a magnitude 6.1 quake in northern Afghanistan.

Jan. 26, 2001: A magnitude 7.7 quake strikes Gujarat in India, killing 20,000 people.

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