18 Apr 2010

Dalai Lama wants to visit quake victims

8:05 pm on 18 April 2010

The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says he wants to visit the site of Wednesday's earthquake in north-west China.

The Dalai Lama was born in Qinghai province where the earthquake struck but hasn't set foot in China since a failed Tibetan uprising more than 50 years ago.

He says he wants to comfort survivors of the disaster.

A statement released in northern India, where the Dalai Lama is in exile, says he would like the victims to know he is praying for them.

The official death toll from the 6.9 magnitude earthquake is now put at 1706.

The bodies of about 700 people were cremated on Saturday by monks, outside the worst-hit town, Jiegu.