Myanmar Hit by Half the Total of Last Year’s Quakes in January

By Thazin Hlaing 26 January 2018

Myanmar was hit by almost half the number of earthquakes it saw last year in January 2018 alone, according to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH).

“There have been 34 earthquakes so far. They struck western and northwestern Myanmar and Phyu, and some of them were aftershocks. The one with the highest magnitude registered 6.0 on the Richter scale,” assistant director Dr. Yin Myo Min Htway of the Seismology Division of the DMH told the Irrawaddy.

Myanmar experienced 32 inland quakes and 2 offshore quakes in Myanmar waters in the Andaman Sea in January while it was rocked by about 70 earthquakes in 2017 including 69 inland quakes and one offshore one, according to the official.

Frequent tremors at the beginning of the year were aftershocks of the earthquake that hit Phyu, it was learned.

As the DMH has installed better seismometers, almost every earthquake was recorded precisely, according to Dr. Myo Thant, vice chairman of the Myanmar Earthquake Committee.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 hit the northwestern area of Phyu Township in Bago Region on the morning of January 12, triggering aftershocks.

With a higher potential for earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 and above along the Sagaing Fault, it is important to be prepared for earthquakes instead of just worrying about them, Dr. Myo Thant said.

“People are killed or injured not because of earthquakes but because of buildings. It is vital for people to check whether their buildings can withstand earthquakes. Preparedness can reduce damage and causalities during an earthquake,” he added.

It is essential to understand how to respond in an earthquake and to know where the safe places to go are, said U Saw Htway Zaw, vice chairman of the earthquake committee.

“It is necessary to know whether one’s house is safe or which part of the house is safe and which part is unsafe. People should consult with seismic experts for their safety,” he said.

Myanmar was rocked by a number of earthquakes on January 25, including two striking Myanmar waters with magnitudes 5.9 and 5.8 respectively, one registering 3.7 near Tachilek in Shan State and another one with magnitude 4.5 near Kalay in Chin State, according to the DMH.

The earthquake registering 5.8 on the Richter scale, which struck 5 miles northwest of Taikkyi on March 13, 2017, caused damage and injuries and was the highest magnitude in Myanmar that year.