26 Mar 2011

Search effort in quake-hit Myanmar hampered

8:50 pm on 26 March 2011

Rescuers are struggling to reach remote Myanmar towns hit by a powerful earthquake that killed at least 75 people.

Images from the area show roads torn apart and wooden homes reduced to piles of timber.

The 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck in the east of the country, which is generally known as Burma, near the borders with Thailand and Laos on Thursday and was felt as far away as the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

The AFP reports that the towns of Tarlay, Tachileik and nearby villages in Burma's Shan state appear to have been most severely affected by the quake, which flattened hundreds of houses and toppled monasteries and government buildings.

Houses and temples were also damaged in northern Thailand, where one person was killed.

A BBC correspondent in Bangkok says Myanmar is ill-prepared to deal with natural disasters.

Communication systems and infrastructure are poor and the military government, still in charge until the handover to a new supposedly civilian-led administration, tends to limit the flow of information.