BANGKOK – An elderly woman died and 23 people were injured after a strong earthquake shook northern Thailand, an official said Tuesday, as aftershocks continued to rattle a mountainous region popular with tourists.
The 83-year-old woman died when a wall in her house collapsed after the 6.0-magnitude struck quake on Monday afternoon, according to an official at the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department in Bangkok.”Twenty-three people were also injured in separate incidents caused by the quake,” the official said, without giving further details.
The quake, which struck at a shallow depth of just 7.4 kilometers (4.5 miles), had its epicenter in the remote Phan district of Chiang Rai province, geologists said, and was felt hundreds of miles to the south in Bangkok and even in Myanmar’s commercial capital, Yangon.
“Since last evening (Monday), there were six large aftershocks with a magnitude between 5.0 to 5.9, and the last was this morning,” Burin Wechbunthung, of the Meteorological Department said, adding there were a dozen smaller tremors.
Residents on Monday said they had seen cracked building facades, broken shop windows and damage to roads, while power was cut for several hours in Phan.
The area is a remote mountain retreat near the border with Myanmar and Laos and is popular with foreign visitors.
The quake was felt in the tourist hub city of Chiang Mai, 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Chiang Rai, and as far away as Bangkok, 500 miles (800 kilometers) to the south, where tall buildings shook for several seconds.
Major earthquakes are rare in Thailand, although tremors often strike the north of the country.
A 6.8-magnitude quake hit Myanmar’s eastern state of Shan in March 2011, leaving dozens dead near the border with Thailand and Laos and reducing homes and government buildings to rubble.
The area hit in 2011 is close to Chiang Rai and prompted the government to call for a review of Thailand’s preparedness for a major seismic event.