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15august20092Taipei: Typhoon Marakot hit Taiwan last week, causing seven days of natural disasters and costing hundreds of lives. The Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Taipei organized a special prayer ceremony this morning for the victims of Typhoon—those who lost their lives and those still missing. The ceremony was led by Tibetan monks, including the former abbot of the Sera Jay monastery. Many Taiwanese Buddhist followers and all staff members of the Tibet Religious Foundation attended the ceremony.  

"The Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama based in Taipei has called for Tibetans and Taiwanese Buddhist followers in Taiwan to hold a prayer ceremony for the Taiwanese who lost their lives in the tragedy of natural disasters including Typhoon Marakot and landslides," stated Keary Huan, Taipei correspondent for The Tibet Post (TPI).

15august20093"We are deeply saddened to learn of these tragic situations from the media, Taiwanese friends, and their relatives after the typhoon hit Taiwan, particularly the villages in southern Taiwan, costing the lives of so many people. The reports told the real stories of tragedy, the fear and pain in their hearts. The Taiwanese people not only suffered merciless destruction from the wind and rain, but also face a great hit: even the number of livestock were victims of this disaster’s flood of terror and loss of life, and we cannot bear to share the pain," Mr. Sodor, the secretary of the Tibet Office in Taipei, told TPI.

Keary stated, "Typhoon Marakot has mainly hit southern Taiwan, causing many deaths as many were buried under mud and rocks. Liouguei Township and Shiao Lin village of Kaohsiung County in particular were covered with what rescuers say may be five stories of mud. It has been officially confirmed that 398 people were buried alive.”

"After families waited anxiously for six days, they borrowed four-wheel vehicles to cross the tattered bridge that was the only way back to their village. Upon seeing their dilapidated homes, and expecting the deaths of their loved ones, they could not help but cry and even faint. Shiao Lin village today confirmed that 400 villagers were buried alive after the first seven-day period passed, and they decided to hold a prayer ceremony in front of the Chiahsien village offices where their loved ones were buried," she continued.

15august20091The residents said more people than usual were in the village when the storm hit last weekend because Saturday was Taiwanese Father's Day, so many had returned to their home village to celebrate the occasion with their families.

The people of Shiao Lin were also greeted at the disaster scene yesterday by the Chinese and Siraya (Taiwanese native people), who performed their traditional rituals for the tragic deaths, presenting incense, betel nuts, and cigarettes, and praying that their loved ones will rest in peace.

The main questions following this disaster are: where should the villagers go, what are their next steps, and how will they live?" No one knows the answer yet. Shiao Lin is now entirely entombed by muds and rocks; its 571 people will take an initiative to contact with the central government, and more than 200 villagers from Shiao Lin have been relocated to a safe place. Since last week, over 116 people confirmed dead, 59 are missing, 45 are injured, thousands stranded, and 398 were buried."

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com