Breaking, heartbreaking news this morning: a series of earthquakes — including one of a 6.9 magnitude — have struck a Chinese/Tibetan border region. The quakes were centered in Yushu county, in the southern part of Qinghai — a mountainous region in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham. Between 600-700 people have been reported killed, with 10,000 estimated injured. [April 15th update: About 15,000 homes are thought to have collapsed and 100,000 people will need to be relocated, authorities say.”]
The devastation has also created suffering at the monastery of Thrangu Rinpoche. Our report on that, along with the Dalai Lama’s statement, and information on relief efforts, follow.
UPDATE: We now have word via a Shambhala sangha member who passes on a message from Shirley Blair, the director of Thrangu Rinpoche‘s school for Himalayan children in Kathmandu. Blair’s message contends that Thrangu Rinpoche’s monastery was hit by the quake, resulting in at least 10 deaths. The learning center there has reportedly collapsed, so there may be more casualties — and, indeed, a follow-up communication we received reports that close to 30 monks/students were killed.
UPDATE: His Holiness the Dalai Lama has released a statement in response to the earthquake.
RELIEF UPDATES: Our friends at Elephant Journal have rounded up more information and a link to the Surmang Foundation, who are managing earthquake relief donations. Also: Tibet Relief Fund has launched an appeal for victims of today’s earthquake. Donations can be made here.
Yushu — population 100,000; many of whom are and have been Tibetan — is one of the locales most associated with the anti-government protests of March 2008 and was for centuries a hotbed of Buddhist activity. Countless area houses and even schools collapsed in the quakes and aftermath, and flooding is prevalent. Many incoming roadways have been compromised or destroyed, greatly complicating rescue efforts. More here via Yahoo/Reuters. Update: Here‘s a report from The New York Times.
Please keep the people of Yushu in your hearts.