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Strong quake hits Myanmar, but no deaths reported

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A strong earthquake struck Myanmar on Wednesday night and was felt in parts of eastern India and Bangladesh, but an official said Thursday that there were no immediate reports of serious injuries or major damage in Myanmar.

The magnitude 6.9 quake struck at a depth of 135 kilometers (84 miles), 396 kilometers (246 miles) north of Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Residents in Myanmar’s main city of Yangon panicked after the quake struck, but authorities there said there were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

The quake was centered in the jungle and hills 220 kilometers (137 miles) northwest of Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-biggest city. While the area is prone to earthquakes, it is generally sparsely populated, and most houses are low-rise structures.

In the Sagaing region just southwest of Mandalay, Sa Willy Frient, the director of the Relief and Resettlement Department, said there were no reports of serious injuries, although nine pagodas had suffered minor damage.

“There are still no death reports,” he said.

In Monywa, a city 136 kilometers (85 miles) northwest of Mandalay, Ko Hein Linn Htet, a 23-year-old hotel receptionist, said there was no major damage in the city, though there were some cracks along the walls in some buildings.

Zaw Myint Htoo, a 38-year-old resident of Mogok, 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of Mandalay, confirmed there was no major damage in that city.

The tremors were felt in the eastern Indian states of Assam and West Bengal, including in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting during their tour of India. The British High Commission in New Delhi said Prince William and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, were safe.

“We felt the tremor very strongly, but all is fine,” said British Deputy High Commissioner Scott Furssedonn-Wood, who was staying in the same 12-cottage jungle resort as the royal couple.

William and Kate were scheduled to leave for neighboring Bhutan on Thursday.

In Assam’s capital, Gauhati, people rushed outdoors as they felt strong tremors and buildings swaying.

Residents in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal state, ran out of their homes in panic as the earthquake hit the region, but there were no immediate reports of serious injuries or damage.

People also reported feeling the quake in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, 484 kilometers (300 miles) from the epicenter.

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