On his return to Dharamsala on Sunday, August 15, after extensive travels that have included the USA, Ladakh, Mumbai and Delhi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
"I am deeply saddened to learn that a massive landslide swept away vehicles, including public buses, on the Pathankot-Mandi Highway near Mandi on Saturday night resulting in the tragic death and injury of many people," His Holiness said in the letter, dated August 15, 2017.
"I would like to offer my condolences to those families who have lost loved ones and to others affected by this catastrophe, he also wrote. "Himachal Pradesh has been my home for over 57 years, and I naturally feel an affinity for its people. Natural disasters like this are difficult to predict and consequently difficult to take precautions against."
"However, I wonder if the introduction of warning procedures at the first signs of trouble might help prevent the recurrence of such events in the future," he added.
The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate ended his letter with the assurance that as a token of his respect and sympathy, he was making a donation from the Dalai Lama Trust to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.
At least 46 people were killed and 10 missing after a landslide triggered by a cloudburst swept away several vehicles on a busy highway stretch in Himachal Pradesh on August 13, 2017, according to media reports.
Reports said that a team of National Disaster Response Force and army dug through mounds of mud and stones to recover 46 bodies from the site. The rescuers also pulled out five people alive from the rubble. They were rushed to the zonal hospital at Mandi with severe injuries.
Apart from the 200-metre stretch of the Mandi-Pathankot highway, the landslide that took place around 1.15am at Kotrupi village washed away two buses of Himachal Road Transport Corporation, two cars and a motorcycle. Five houses were also damaged.
Most of the victims are believed to be passengers of the two buses that were caught in the landslide. Eight passengers were on board the bus going from Manali to Katra, while the bus on its way to Manali from Chamba was carrying 50 passengers, reports added.