Rare big tornado near Myanmar capital kills eight

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A tornado that tore through two villages in central Myanmar near the capital Naypyitaw killed eight people and destroyed more than 200 houses, a rescue worker said Saturday.

The tornado hit Aung Myin Kone and Tadau villages on Naypyitaw’s southern outskirts at around 6:10 p.m. on Friday, Thet Paing Soe, a leading member of the Doh Lewe charity organization, told The Associated Press.

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He said local charity organizations had transported 128 people to hospitals, and 232 houses in the two villages were destroyed.

“The tornado blew for approximately 40 minutes. Almost all the houses in the villages are quite badly damaged. The restoration will take months,” Thet Paing Soe said.

Major tornadoes are rare in Myanmar.

However, tornadoes of a size that rarely cause death and serious damage often occur in the summer and pre-monsoon periods when the temperature rises, said Kyaw Moe Oo, a director-general at the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.

“During this period, there are frequent tornadoes in the lower parts of Myanmar, but there are few casualties. These kinds of fatalities in central Myanmar are rare,” he told AP.

Myanmar experiences extreme weather virtually every year during monsoon season. In 2008, Cyclone Nargis killed more than 138,000 people.

State-run MRTV television reported that Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the head of Myanmar’s military-installed government, visited the disaster area on Saturday and provided aid to the residents.

The report said that two Buddhist monasteries and a small clinic were among the structures destroyed.

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