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Cablegate: Indonesia Quake Hits Burma

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS RANGOON 001629

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV, CA TASK FORCE, OPS CENTER
BANGKOK, KATHMANDU FOR USAID
USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR CASC PREL PINR PGOV AMGT BM
SUBJECT: INDONESIA QUAKE HITS BURMA

REF: 12/27 EMBASSY-CA TASK FORCE EMAIL

1. Rangoon awoke on Sunday the 26th to a 5.3 earthquake, the
largest since 1958 in the capital, testimony to the vast
power of the quake off Indonesia. Though there were no
reports of casualties or major damage in Rangoon, there were
scattered reports throughout the area of slightly damaged
buildings. The state-run media was predictably tight-lipped
about the quake, as the SPDC leadership views any natural
disaster as a bad omen for its continued rule. However,
without context, the December 27th papers carried reminders
of what to do during an earthquake.

2. According to eyewitness reports and the GOB's Ministry of
Hotels and Tourism, Burma's most heavily touristed beach
areas -- west of Rangoon on the Bay of Bengal -- were not hit
by particularly large waves, though the undertow was
significant. There were no reports of any damage, injuries,
or deaths in these areas. However, coastal areas of
southeastern Burma -- near the Thai border -- had high waves.
A foreign press report claimed that six or seven locals were
killed in that area, however, Rangoon businessmen with
interests there said they'd heard of damage to buildings and
bridges but not of any casualties. A Ministry of Hotels and
Tourism official told us that there were eight or nine
pleasure craft, carrying foreigners, including Americans, in
this area but that he had not heard of any problems. The
boats are expected back to port between the 27th and January
2nd.

3. UNOCAL's Rangoon office reported no damage to the offshore
Yadana natural gas platform, located in far southeastern
Burma, nor to the onshore pipeline facility. Both are
operated by France's Total, but UNOCAL is a member of the
operating consortium. As a precaution the platform stopped
pumping gas for 3.5 hours beginning at 7:40 am on the 26th,
but was back to normal production by noon.
MARTINEZ

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