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myanmar-mapYANGON: A major earthquake hit central Myanmar on Sunday near Mandalay, its second-biggest city, but reports suggested damage was limited and officials contacted knew of only five dead, although several construction workers were missing.


The 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck around 60 km (37 miles) northwest of Mandalay, the U.S Geological Survey said. It was quite shallow at around 10 km (6 miles) deep.


"I've never felt such a strong tremor. I also heard some loud noises and the light went out. No idea about the damage," one Mandalay resident said by telephone.


Several very strong aftershocks hit the region but there were no reports of serious damage in Mandalay.


Residents in Bangkok, the capital of neighbouring Thailand, also felt the quake.


An official at Mandalay Meteorological Department said the epicentre was near the town of Shwebo and struck at 7:41 a.m. (0111 GMT).


Local media said a half-built bridge over the Irrawaddy River between Kyauk Myaung and Singgu had collapsed.


A police officer in Shwebo, the administrative centre, said one woman had died and 10 people had been injured in Kyauk Myaung.


"A house collapsed in Kyauk Myaung. The Radana Thinga Bridge, still under construction, over the river was badly damaged. A huge steel beam fell into the river and five workers went missing," he told Reuters.


A police officer in Singgu Township opposite Kyauk Myaung on the east side of the Irrawaddy told Reuters that four people had died there and another nine were injured in the earthquake.


"Those injured are not in a critical condition. We are still monitoring the damage and casualties in the environs," he said.



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