The famous four pagodas in the town of Chiang Saen in Thailand have also been damaged in the quake [AFP]

More than 70 people have been killed and 100 injured after a strong earthquake struck northeastern Myanmar near its border with Thailand, officials said, adding, the toll may rise.

Myanmar state radio announced on Friday that 74 people had been killed and 111 injured in the quake, but was updating the total frequently. It said that 390 houses, 14 Buddhist monasteries and nine government buildings were damaged, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The 6.8-magnitude quake shook buildings as far away as the Thai capital Bangkok, almost 800km from the epicentre, on Thursday night.

No tsunami warning was issued after the quake as US seismologists said it was too far inland to generate a devastating wave in the Indian Ocean.

In Yangon, Chris Herink, Myanmar country director for the charity World Vision, said there did not appear to be "catastrophic infrastructure damage" in the affected areas of Kengtung and Tachileik, although buildings were cracked and water supplies disrupted in some areas.

"Of real concern though are the more rural areas. There will be more, I am afraid to say, unhappy information coming throughout the day," he said.

A UN official said medicine would be sent to the affected areas as soon as possible along with an assessment team in cooperation with the Myanmar Red Cross Society.

Aftershocks in Thailand

The quake also caused major damage across the border in Thailand and officials are trying to find out the extent of the damage here. In the town of Chiang Rai, many buildings were left damaged.

The four pagodas in the historic town of Chiang Saen near the northern Thai border were damaged, including Chedi Luang, where its three-metre long pinnacle crashed to the ground, AFP news agency reported.

Fearing more aftershocks, people in the province's Mae Sai district, 60km from the epicentre, had left their houses and were seen setting up makeshift shelters in open spaces, AP reported.

Somchai Hatyatanti, Chiang Rai provincial governor, said cracks were seen in some buildings. Power was briefly knocked out and some telephone lines were down.

Vibul Sguanpong, director general of Thailand's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said there had been dozens of aftershocks.

"We urge those in very old houses or tall, old buildings near the northern border with Myanmar to check for cracks and other signs of damage, and consider leaving for the next two days while aftershocks are likely," he said.

The quake comes two weeks after Japan was hit by a massive earthquake, which unleashed a devastating tsunami that left around thousands people dead or missing.

Source: Agencies