Earthquakes rock Japan, Myanmar and Ecuador

A series of earthquakes rocked the Pacific rim, leaving several hundred dead in Myanmar, Japan and Ecuador.  On 13 April 2016 a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Myanmar. The epicenter of the quake was located in a sparsely populated jungle area in the Northwest of the country near the border of Assam. The Associated Press reported that in Yangon (Rangoon) residents fled into the street as the ground shook for over a minute. Reports of death and injuries have not been released by the government. Shocks were felt as far away as Tibet and Bangladesh. The power grid in the state of Assam failed at one point following the quake. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park during their royal tour of India when the earthquake shook the area, but were not affected by the quake. In a statement given to the Church of England Newspaper, the Rt Rev Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, said: “My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Myanmar following the earthquake which occurred in the region yesterday. The Diocese of Winchester has a longstanding partnership with the Province of Myanmar and we are already engaged with the development work following the flooding last year.  I have sent a message to Archbishop Stephen assuring him of our continued support.” On 16 April an earthquake struck coastal Ecuador. The government of President Rafael Correa reported that at least 246 people have been killed and 2500 injured, with damage reported in the cities of Manta, Portoviejo and Guayaquil. In a statement given to state television, President Correa said: “Everything can be rebuilt, but what can’t be rebuilt are human lives, and that’s the most painful.” Southwestern Japan was struck by two earthquakes last week that caused considerable damage, but stringent building codes have been cited for the low loss of life. Eleven people are missing or dead after a magnitude-6.4 quake struck on 14 April. Two days later a second magnitude-7.3 quake struck close to the city of Kumamoto. Aftershocks continue to shake the region, and the Japanese government has urged 250,000 people to leave their homes and find shelter until the quakes subside.

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