13 killed in strong Myanmar quake: NGO

Several window panes are missing after they fell following a 6.8-magnitude quake.

SHWEBO, Myanmar - A powerful earthquake that struck Myanmar Sunday killed at least 13 people, injured 40 and sparked panic in the central city of Mandalay, residents and aid workers said.

The shallow 6.8-magnitude quake struck in a rural area 116 kilometres (72 miles) north of Mandalay and was followed by strong aftershocks, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Four labourers flung into the Irrawaddy river from a partly-built bridge near the town of Shwebo, north of Mandalay and nearer to the epicentre of the quake, were among those believed to have died, according to a situation report from Save the Children.

The collapse of a monastery in the nearby village of Kyauk Myaung killed two people and one died in Mandalay, it said. A further six were killed in Sint Ku township, including two people who died when a gold mine collapsed.

"People everywhere are very worried that another earthquake might strike," the aid organisation said

Residents of Mandalay fled shaking buildings in terror, although no major damage was reported there.

"I ran from my bed carrying my daughter out to the street. There were many people in the road. Some were shouting and others felt dizzy," Mandalay resident San Yu Kyaw told AFP by telephone.

A government official in the capital Naypyidaw who asked not to be named could only confirm two deaths so far.

Another official from Myanmar's Relief and Resettlement Department told AFP that most of those injured were workers on construction sites, with 15 people taken to Shwebo and Kyauk Myaung hospitals.

"We have sent a team to Shwebo where the earthquake was centred to assist in relief works and providing food to the victims," he told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Save the Children, which has an office in Mandalay, said reports indicated that 25 were injured in the bridge collapse on the Irrawaddy, with 10 taken to hospital.

It said 20 people were thought to have been taken to hospital in Shwebo and a further 10 were being treated in Mandalay.

Construction standards are generally poor in the country formerly known as Burma, one of Asia's most impoverished nations.

A large crack stretching from the second to the sixth floor of Mandalay's highest building, the 25-storey Mann Myanmar Plaza, appeared after the quake, a local resident told AFP. 

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