A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit a sparsely populated area of Myanmar just before 1am on Friday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) has reported.
The quake struck around 24 miles from the town of Pyu, which has a population of just over 40,000 people. It was followed by a series of three other quakes in the area, each with a magnitude of 5.3.
USGS said that although buildings in Myanmar are usually vulnerable to earthquakes, casualties and damage are unlikely in this case since so few people live near the epicenter.
Last night’s quake struck between Yangon and Naypyidaw, about 100 miles away from each city.
Myanmar, which is home to four major faults, is known for being very earthquake prone. In November 2012, an earthquake struck the center of the country, killing 26 people and injuring hundreds.
In August 2016, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Bagan, killing three people and toppling several ancient pagodas. The damage to the pagodas has served as an impetus for reversing the shoddy junta-era conservation work done on them. Residents hope this will allow the Myanmar government to submit Bagan’s candidacy for UNESCO World Heritage status.
However, rapid construction, poor planning, and a shortage of medical and other resources leave people living in Myanmar, especially in Yangon, extremely vulnerable to earthquakes.