By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, August 26: The Speaker of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, today expressed condolences to the victims of the tragic earthquake in Italy, which so far has caused over 250 deaths and injury to over 400 people.
In a letter to the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, the Speaker said, “On behalf of all the Tibetans in and outside Tibet, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile express our condolence to all the victims of the recent earthquake in Central Italy that has taken so many lives.”
He also said that the Tibetans would pray for the victims and their families to overcome the hardship.
“The 5th World Parliamentarian Convention on Tibet was held at Rome, Italy in 2009 with the support and cooperation of Italian parliament and its people. We are thankful of Italy’s ever-strong support for the Tibetan Issue. In such period of hardship, our solidarity is with you and your people,” he said in the letter.
The earthquake, which first hit central Italy at 3:36 a.m. on August 24, was measured at a magnitude of 6.2 with its epicenter in Accumoli, about 10.5kms from Norcia in the Umbria region. The primary earthquake was followed by about 200 strong aftershocks, including a 5.5 at 4:33 a.m.
Amatrice, Arquata, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto are most affected towns and the government today declared State of emergency in the worst hit areas. The rescue operations are already underway. However, frequent tremors have hampered the search operation for survivors.
In recent times, Italy has suffered two devastating earthquakes in 2009 and 2012. The 2009 earthquake stuck L'Aquila, Abruzzo in Central Italy at 5.9 on Richter scale. It was the worst earthquake since 1980 resulting in 308 people (known death) and over 1,500 injured.