Victims of Thursday’s earthquake of 6.8 magnitude in Talerh and Monglane village tracts in Talerh sub-township, Tachilek township, opposite Thaland’s Mae Sai, are still worried about another strong quake because small quakes were still reportedly taking place until last night, according to local sources.
The quakes were reported from Monday night at about 20:00 (local time) until Tuesday morning (29 March) at around 3:00 about three or four times. They were not strong as the one on 24 March, but the last one had rattled the windows and doors, said a woman victim in Talerh.
“No one dared to go out anywhere. Everyone just squatted in their own tents and talked about whether there would be a heavy quake again. Everyone is really worried of another big one,” she said.
In addition, the people, especially the people who don’t have tarpaulin, are worried not only of another quake but also about continued heavy rain and storm, according to local sources.
Regarding relief supplies from the officials, the local residents said the authorities started their distribution yesterday after Maj Gen Aung Than Htut, who oversees Shan State, visited the area and gave permission, but what was given was still far below their need, another local resident said.
The relief materials given yesterday were plates, blankets, pots, longgyi (sarongs worn by both men and women), towels and tents.
“Not all the people received those things because there were not enough to go around. People who did not lose much did not get them,” she said. “But some people did not take those things at all because the authorities said they just let us borrow for a while. Then, we have to return them when we have new shelters.”
According to the sources, aid was insufficient and is not reaching all the people in need because it is too far slow. And some villages living far away from the main road have received no aid at all up to date.
“We have to walk down to where the road is to receive donation. The aid that we received now was mainly from local communities on the border,” said a villager.
On the other hand, the accurate numbers of the death tolls are not known up to date even after nearly a week when the quake struck. The authorities have few equipment and they have little experience in dealing with the situation.
“They are very slow in finding the dead bodies. There are only a few people clearing and searching. They still found new remains everyday, but no report,” said another local resident.
According to a report from Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) which is in collaboration with humanitarian groups on Monday 28 March said the number of damaged houses has increased from 224 to 305 including a number of government buildings. The damage of the earthquake was estimated approximately at Kyat 3 billion (US$ 3.6 million).
But the official announcement from MRTV4, the junta-run television station only said that only 74 died and 125 injured.
The report also said, a total of eight aftershocks have been reported since the earthquake struck and as of 27 March evening.
According to an unidentified editor, the private newspapers in Burma are not allowed to mention the actual death toll. “We need to use the figure compiled by the state-run newspapers. And we cannot use the photos that show serious damage,” he said, reported Mizzima News.