Shwebo (Myanmar): A powerful earthquake which hit Myanmar on Sunday killed at least 13 people, injured dozens and sparked panic in the major central city of Mandalay, residents and aid workers said.

The shallow 6.8-magnitude quake struck in a rural area 116 kilometres north of Mandalay followed by a series of aftershocks, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. Another strong quake with a magnitude of 5.8 shook the same region late today, it added. The tremor was felt by team near the town of Shwebo, which is north of Mandalay and close to the epicentre of the earlier quake.

There was no immediate information on whether the latest quake caused further deaths or major damage. Four labourers flung into the Irrawaddy river when a partly-built bridge collapsed in the region were among those believed to have died, according to a situation report from the Save the Children charity.

Damage to a monastery in the nearby village of Kyauk Myaung left two people dead and a further fatality was reported in Mandalay, it said. Six more people were killed in Sint Ku township, including two who died when a gold mine caved in.

Witnesses at the site of the bridge collapse described how the quake caused a crane that was supporting the structure to topple."The ropes could not hold the body of the bridge and it collapsed onto ships on the river below. The steel frames fell onto the boats, which then sank into the water," ferry driver Aung Naing Linn, 45, told.


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