Shakeout in Southeast Asia


SEIKPHYU, MYANMAR– A 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook several Southeast Asian countries on Aug 24, 2016 at 3:34 AM PST (5:04 Myanmar Standard Time). It was centered at an isolated town, Chauk, south of Bagan, in the country of Myanmar. The estimated depth of the earthquake was 84.1 km.

The tremors from the earthquake were felt in Yangon (Myanmar), in the eastern cities of Patna, Guwahati, and Kolkata (India), in Bangkok (Thailand), and in Dhaka (Bangladesh). Not only were there nearly 200 ancient temples in the nearby ancient city of Bagan damaged, but there were also a total of four people dead. There was also an earthquake with a 6.9 magnitude in early April, but with only two casualties.

For years, thousands of tourists have traveled to Bagan to visit the traditional homesite of temples, pagodas, and structures that were constructed from the early 10th to the 14th centuries. This isn’t the first time the country has experienced an event like this. Back in 1975, more than half of the 3,000 pagodas were in ruins with a 6.5 magnitude earthquake.

Unfortunately, the damage by the recent earthquake sent the tourism sector into a state of turmoil. Bagan, historic landmark and religious site, is Myanmar’s national treasure. Myanmar’s president, Htin Kyaw, traveled to the site examining and discussing restorative measures.

The Director-General of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) has spoken out to the citizens regarding the news.

“I wish to express my sincere sympathy following the powerful earthquake that struck Myanmar today,” said the Director-General. “The loss of cultural heritage and such iconic buildings are a direct blow to the people and identity of Myanmar. Heritage bears the soul of the people and its protection is an integral part of wider efforts to empower people, to strengthen resilience and restore confidence in difficult times.”


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