Earthquakes in Burma

   Burma is located in a seismically active region, and earthquakes occasionally cause great damage and loss of life. In 1930, a large earthquake destroyed the Shwemawdaw Pagoda in Pegu (Bago), causing many deaths. A 1975 earthquake damaged temples and pagodas at Pagan (Bagan). Given the flimsiness of much of the new construction in Rangoon (Yangon), Mandalay, and other towns since 1988, there are fears that a large quake could cause many fatalities in urban areas. On December 26, 2004, an earthquake of over 9.0 magnitude occurred where the Burma Plate is undercut by the Indian Plate in the Indian Ocean, close to western Sumatra in Indonesia, causing massive tsunamis (sea waves). An estimated 226,000 people died or are missing in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and other countries. Several hundred Burmese workers resident in southern Thailand are believed to have died. In Burma itself, the State Peace and Development Council has released very little information about casualties or the extent of damage. According to the Myanmar Red Cross, 86 people died in Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) and Tenasserim (Tanintharyi) Divisions and Arakan (Rakhine) State. Investigations by the United Nations confirmed that, compared to neighboring countries, the number of deaths was small, and probably did not greatly exceed official figures, but that some 30,000 people were in need of emergency aid.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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