China Pledges to Repair Quake-damaged Monasteries

AP has the latest death toll in the Qinghai earthquake:

The death toll from the April 14 earthquake centered in Yushu county of western China’s Qinghai province rose to 2,192, Xinhua News Agency reported. As of Friday night, 78 people were still missing.

Authorities were planning to repair the 87 monasteries damaged by the quake, Xinhua said. Living quarters for more than 8,000 monks now in tents should be fixed by the end of the year, Leshi, chief of the ethnic and religious affairs committee in Yushu, was cited as saying.

“Such repairs will be one of the priorities in our quake relief and rebuilding efforts this year,” Leshi, who like many Tibetans goes by one name, was quoted as saying. “The residents rely on Tibetan Buddhism for spiritual support and for many, the monastery is often viewed as more important than their own homes.”

The vast majority of Yushu’s residents are Tibetan and most are deeply devout Buddhists. The area has 238 monasteries with more than 23,000 monks, Xinhua said.