Exile Tibetans joined by local Indians hold a prayer service for victims of the north India floods at the Tsug-la Khang in Dharamshala on June 24, 2013. (Photo/tibet.net)
DHARAMSHALA, June 24: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has expressed his deep condolences to families who have been effected by the devastating rain and floods in the northern Indian state of Uttrakhand and offered monetary contributions to the ongoing relief efforts.
In letters to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Uttrakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, the Dalai Lama “expressed his deep sadness at the loss of life and property as a result of unprecedented flooding and landslides during heavy monsoon rains in Uttarakhand.”
The Tibetan spiritual leade,r who has just returned from an extended visit to New Zealand and Australia, also offered his “deep condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in this calamity.”
“As a token of sympathy, The Dalai Lama Trust is making contributions to the relief efforts of both the state and central governments,” a statement issued by the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama said on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Tibetan Settlement Office in Dharamshala organised a mass prayer service to pay homage to the victims of the devastating rains and floods in north India earlier today.
Hundreds of Tibetans joined by local Indians gathered at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple in McLeod Ganj to pay their respects.
Thinley Namgyal, a volunteer at the temple from Sherab Gatsel Lobling School said, "We have a good history with India and we've been living here for so long that surely there's a sense of brotherhood and solidarity with the victims of the flood. We feel a sense of loss as other local Indians have felt."
The flooding is mainly concentrated in Uttrakhand region where over an estimated 800 people have died, along with thousands who remain stranded in remote mountainous areas. The Indian government is desperately responding with the use of makeshift bridges to transport people to safety by road, after the army was forced to halt helicopter rescues, due to thick fog.
It is believed around 34,000 people have been evacuated so far with a further 50,000 remain stranded, with the death toll expected to rise. The floods have come as a result of early monsoon, predicted to be the heaviest rainfall in 60 years.
Last week, the exile Tibetan administration expressed its “deep sadness” over the devastation caused by torrential rain and floods and announced a donation of Rs 3 lakh to the Uttrakhand Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the flood victims as a “gesture of solidarity.”