The shallow quake struck some 40 kilometres (24 miles) west of the town of Pyu, the USGS said. It was followed by three weaker tremors in the region, all of magnitudes 5.3, the survey reported. Pix courtesy of USGS

YANGON: A strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit a remote region of central Myanmar early Friday, the US Geological Survey said.

The shallow quake struck some 40 kilometres (24 miles) west of the town of Pyu, the USGS said. It was followed by three weaker tremors in the region, all of magnitudes 5.3, the survey reported.

“There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage,” USGS said, but noted that residential structures in the region are typically vulnerable to earthquake shaking.

The epicentre was located in a sparsely populated region between the capital Naypyidaw to the north and commercial hub Yangon to the south, at least 150 kilometres from each.

Earthquakes are relatively common in Myanmar, where six strong quakes of 7.0 magnitude or more struck between 1930 and 1956 near the Sagaing Fault, which runs north to south through the centre of the country, according to the USGS.

A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake in the ancient capital Bagan in central Myanmar killed three people in 2016, also toppling spires and crumbling temple walls at the tourist destination.

In November 2012, another powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the centre of the country, killing 26 people and injuring hundreds.

The impoverished Southeast Asian nation has a strained medical system, especially in its rural states.

The breakneck pace of development in Myanmar’s cities, combined with crumbling infrastructure and poor urban planning, has also made the country’s most populous areas vulnerable to earthquakes and other disasters, experts say.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on Friday. --AFP

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