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November 13, 2012

Aid Group: Death Toll from Burma Quake Rises to 26

by VOA News

The death toll in northern Burma is rising from Sunday's strong earthquake.

Red Cross Regional Communications Director Kate Roux's says the latest number is more than twice what it was before.

"There's about 26 people have died, 12 people missing and approximately 231 that were injured and in total about 462 structures that were damaged," said Roux.

​​The 6.8-magnitude quake struck near Burma's second biggest city, Mandalay, and there have been several strong aftershocks , including, a 4.8-magnitude tremor that shook the administrative capital, Naypyidaw, Tuesday. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The original quake caused severe damage to the area surrounding Mandalay, destroying hundreds of homes and forcing many residents to take shelter in tents amid fears that buildings may collapse.

Still, workers at a gold mine continued working in Sinkuu Township in Mandalay Tuesday though many, like Tint Naing Win, worry what would have happened if they had been underground when the quake hit.

"We are afraid of the earthquake," said Tint Naing Win. "I am really afraid just by thinking what if we were underground.''

Aid agencies said the situation is under control, and there will likely be no need for foreign assistance to deal with the quake, which hit in a relatively undeveloped region.

The disaster comes just days before President Barack Obama makes the first ever visit by a U.S. head-of-state to Burma, which is emerging from decades of harsh military rule.