Earthquake raises concern over Burmese dams

Frequent earthquakes in northern Burma this year have raised concerns about the military government's plans to build a series of large hydropower dams on the Irrawaddy River. A 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck near the Burma-China border on Wednesday, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

Xinhua News Agency said the tremor destroyed buildings. About 1,200 people were forced to evacuate their homes near the epicentre, but no deaths were reported.

Naw Lar, from the Kachin Development Network Group (KDNG) dam research project in Burma, said the authorities should reconsider plans to roll out projects on the Irrawaddy, which is the country’s most important commercial waterway.

"Burma’s military regime should learn from China," said Naw Lar, referring to the risk of failure faced by dams in Sichuan province,
southwest China, after the May 12 quake.

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