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Strong earthquake strikes central Myanmar

Updated at 12:10 a.m. ET: A strong earthquake, followed by two milder shocks, rocked central Myanmar on Sunday morning, and at least one person was reported to have died.


A USGS map shows the location of a 6.6 magnitude earthquake Sunday morning in Myanmar.

The U.S. Geographical Survey said the epicenter of the 6.8-magnitude temblor that hit at 7:42 a.m. local time was about 17 miles east of Shwebo, or 72 miles northwest of Mandalay, and six miles underground. The USGS revised the magnitude up from 6.6.

Two milder quakes estimated at 5.0 magnitude struck about 20 minutes later about 50 miles northwest of Mandalay, USGS reported.

A police officer in Shwebo told Reuters that one woman had died and 10 people had been injured in Kyauk Myaung.

The website of Weekly Eleven magazine said five people were killed in the collapse of a bridge under construction over the Irrawaddy River in Shwebo, The Associated Press reported.

"This is the worst earthquake I felt in my entire life," said Soe Soe, a 52-year-old Shwebo resident.

According to Soe Soe, the huge concrete gate of a monastery collapsed and several sculptures from another pagoda were damaged in the town.

Residents from Mandalay, the second biggest commercial city in central Myanmar, told Reuters that they felt a very strong tremor.

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

There were no reports of casualties or major damage in Mandalay.

Residents in Bangkok, the capital of neighboring Thailand, also said they felt the quake.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue any tsunami warnings.

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President Barack Obama is scheduled to become the first American president to visit Myanmar during a Nov. 17-20 tour of Southeast Asia that will include Thailand and Cambodia, the White House said Thursday.

The quake was initially estimated at 7.0 magnitude but was revised lower by the USGS.

The USGS said much of the population exposed to the earthquake lives in structures vulnerable to shaking. The area has been subject to secondary effects of temblors such as landslides. 

This article includes reporting by Reuters and The Associated Press.

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