Dalai Lama saddened over huge loss of lives in China quake

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New Delhi, May 13 (UNI) The Dalai Lama today expressed grief over the huge loss of lives in the powerful earthquake that devastated many parts of China yesterday.

In a message issued today, the Tibetan spiritual leader said: ''I am deeply saddened by the loss of many lives and many more who have been injured in the catastrophic earthquake that struck Sichuan province of China.'' ''I would like to extend my deep sympathy and heartfelt condolences to those families who have been directly affected by the strong earthquake on May 12, 2008. I offer my prayers for those who have lost their lives and those injured in the quake,'' the Dalai Lama added.

The death toll from China's most devastating earthquake in three decades has jumped to at least 11,921. State media reports indicated that the number of dead from the 7.9 magnitude quake was likely to soar.

The quake's epicentre was in nearby Wenchuan, a mountainous county of about 100,000 people, but its force was enough to cause buildings to sway across China and as far away as Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.

Xinhua, China's official news agency, said 10,000 people were buried in the Mianzhu area of southwestern Sichuan province alone.

In a statement, the Kashag (Cabinet) of the Central Tibetan Administration said: ''We are shocked to learn through the world media that a devastating earthquake erupted in southwestern parts of China on May 12, killing thousands of people and destroying millions worth of property.'' ''In this hour of Chinese national tragedy, our heart goes to brothers and sisters of the people of China and pray for an early recovery from the shock and difficulties that they have gone through,'' it noted.

Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche said: ''My colleagues in the Kashag, Central Tibetan Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, join me to express our sense of great sorrow for the loss of lives and properties. We pray that may Three Jewels give courage and strength to the people of the affected areas to face this daunting natural calamity with ease.'' A special Buddhist prayer ceremony would be conducted at the main Buddhist temple in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, for those who faced an unexpected death in this quake, Kalon Tripa added.

UNI AG AKJ RN1620

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