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Dharamsala, India — The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama Monday has expressed sadness over the loss of life and destruction to property brought about by earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa and Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe to express his sadness at the injuries, loss of life and destruction of property in their respective countries as a result of recent devastating earthquakes.

To President Correa he wrote: "I offer my prayers for those who have lost their lives as a result of this natural disaster, and would like to express my sympathy and condolences to their families and others who have been affected."

In his letter to Prime Minister Abe he wrote: "As a Buddhist monk who recites the 'Heart Sutra' daily, I feel it would be important if Japanese Buddhists were to recite the 'Heart Sutra' now and in the future. Such recitation may not only benefit those who have lost their precious lives, but may also help prevent further disasters in the future. Here in Dharamsala we are reciting the 'Heart Sutra' one hundred thousand times with this in mind."

His Holiness concluded both letters with assurances of his sympathy and solidarity with the people of Ecuador and Japan, declaring that he hadasked The Dalai Lama Trust, in the case of Ecuador, and his Representative in Tokyo, in the case of Japan, to make a token donation towards the relief and rescue work.

Over 500 aftershocks have followed two major earthquakes near the Japanese city Kumamoto since last Thursday. About 42 people have been killed, and 2,000 are estimated to have been injured. People are still missing, some trapped inside fallen buildings. Roads have also suffered damages and are expected to suffer more.

Mudslides are making it difficult to access villages and towns and heavy rain is predicted to come soon, triggering more. Electricity has gone out in a number of areas, stirring problems for those in need of medical attention. So far, 180-thousand people have been safely evacuated from earthquake-hit areas.

Powerful 7.8-magnitude quake struck off Ecuador's central coast, killing at least 233 people and injuring almost 600. The death toll has increased to 238 with more than 1,500 injured). The death toll is expected to increase because the most powerful quake to strike the country since 1979 was centered around sparsely populated areas, including beaches that are popular tourists spots. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake was felt across the country and tremors were even felt in neighboring Colombia and Peru. At least 135 aftershocks have been reported.

Ecuador and Japan are both in was the third to strike in the area around the edges of the Pacific Ocean that is known as the "Ring of Fire," where approximately 90 percent of the world's earthquakes occur. A smaller 6.1-magnitude earthquake also struck the Pacific island nation of Tonga on Sunday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

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