Strong Earthquake Shakes Thailand

By Gregers Moller and Bjarne Wildau

A strong earthquake hit at 9 pm inside Burma only few kilomteres from Mae Sai on the border between Thailand and Burma.

A Dane living in Chiang rai, Brian Sorensen, reported how his house shook and his family fled outside.

“It was big. For me this is the first time I have experienced an earthquake, but people we knopw who have lived here long are quite upset,” he said.

“There will be no going to bed tonight, that’s for sure,” he added.

Brian Sorensen’s house is quite new but he would inspect it tomorrow for any cracks.

“It was a very strong quake and we were afraid and left our house as fast as possible,” says the Dane Hugo Thomsen, who has been living in Chiangmai, 205 km from the border, for decades.

“What a terible experience,but we were very lucky,” he added.

While the Thomsen family escaped unhurt, included their personal goods and their house, unfortunately he cold not say the same about the house ovned by his neigbours.

“One of the corners of the house simply collapsed. The good thing about that was that the house were empty for people” Hugo Thomsen said.

The Dane also told ScandAsia exclusive that he had seen huge cracks in the roads surface just outside his own house.

“Earthquakes, you can say we are sort of used to them, but never at this scale”, says the very socialminded Dane, who has a lifelong exsperinence working for people n need.

So he is, like many ohers worried about whats had happend with the people closer to the epiccentre i Myanmar/ Burma.

Later, telephone contact to people in the north was difficult due to massive overload on the network from people calling relatives to hear if they were safe.

The Swedish supported BaanChivitMai in Huadoi Chiang Rai reported that the children got quite frightened.

“We have had 10 bigger and smaller earthquakes since 8.55 PM last night,” Khun Meechai Wongworawhitt, the Director of Baan Chivit Mai said.

“Our children panicked and had to run out of their houses and we all gathered in the playground during every shaking of the ground. We didn’t sleep well,” he adds with a wry smile.

“Luckily, we have not seen any damage to our houses but I heard there was a bigger impact in Mae Sai because it is closer to Myanmar.

In Mae Sai right on the border, tourists and residents ran out on the street in fear. Long time residents were scared.

“I have lived here all my life and I have never experienced anything like it,” one resident said.

One hour after the earthquake, the first report of a casualty came. It was a woman named Nang Hong, whose ceiling or wall had collapsed on her while she was sleeping in her bed during the ten second long quake.

At 23.00 there had been several aftershocks of different strength, some of them had also been felt in Chiang Rai, Brian Sorensen reported.

“Our windows broke and all our things fell down from the shelves,” reported a local Mae Sai citizen.

As calm returned, many went back into their homes toassess the damage, although the authorities warned of aftershocks.

There were no reports of the extensive damage expected to have happened inside Burma at the center of the earthquake.

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