Just hours after an earthquake struck central Italy and devastated the entire town of Amatrice, killing 159 and and unknown number still missing, an even stronger quake shook central Myanmar, killing 3 and destroying hundreds of ancient temples in the old city.
Bagan is the heart of the Mandalay region and a centre of the region’s tourism. Its ancient pagodas and temples are considered to rival Angkor Wat and the damage to its future tourism potential with the collapse of over 180 pagodas in the City of Pagodas is considerable. Most of the temples were constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries, making some of them nearly 1,000 years old.
Officials are still trying to measure the damage but meanwhile two children died when a pagoda collapsed on a riverbank and a man died in a factory when the roof caved in. The earthquake, having struck at a very deep point, meant that damage was relatively light compared with the earthquake in Amatrice.
The U.S Geological Survey, which monitors all seismic events in the world, says it’s unlikely that the two events were directly related although it’s been known to happen at smaller distances.
The last time the region suffered a severe quake was in 1975, which damaged the Ananda temple but otherwise did not cause too much damage to the 2,000 odd temples in the area.