Tremors from a 6.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Myanmar Thursday (March 24) were stongly felt in Hanoi, prompting thousands of residents to flee from their buildings that night.
The tremors were felt at 8.55 p.m. in the Vietnamese capital, which is between 550-600 kilometers from the quake's epicenter.
No casualties have been reported apart from the panic that struck residents.
Nguyen Thi Oanh, who lives on the 20th floor of the M5 Nguyen Chinh Thanh Building, said she and her husband were watching TV when they felt the floor and furniture shaking.
"I felt dizzy as if I being sick on a swaying hammock. It ended about 15 seconds later," Oanh said, adding that many people in her building ran down stairs.
Similar scenarios played out in many other local buildings.
"Everybody thought it was an earthquake, so they ran downstairs in panic and didn't return home until moments later," said Dang Thi Yen, who lives on the ninth floor of the N1 Building on Tran Quy Street.
Tran Van Hoang, who lives on the ninth floor of the Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh building, also said they didn't dare to use elevators but run down in panic.
According to the Center of Earthquake Information and Tsunami Warning, the bigger quake was centered in the hilly area where Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos meet, sending tremors measuring 6 on the Richter scale to several northeastern provinces of Vietnam like Dien Bien and Lai Chau.
The quake was felt in northeast Myanmar and northern Thailand, including Bangkok as well.
It so far has killed more than 40 people in Myanmar, AP reported Friday. Meanwhile, in Thailand's northernmost province of Chiang Rai, a woman was killed when a wall of her house collapsed.
In the meantime, the Vietnamese center, which works under the Institute for Earth Physics, said it wasn't sure if Hanoi would be hit by any aftershocks, adding that they were keeping a close watch on the situation.
Scientists from the institute said most of the earthquakes recorded in Vietnam were considered weak, and the frequency of large quakes of six to nine magnitude was very low.
They said Hanoi's location had the potential to be stricken by 7-8 magnitude quakes while the largest in Ho Chi Minh City could reach 6-7 on the Richter scale.
In fact, Hanoi was hit by seven-eight magnitude quakes in 1278 and 1285.