Amma Dedicates $2 Million in Aid to Philippines
In the wake of the massive destruction caused by Super-typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, spiritual leader and humanitarian Mata Amritanandamayi is creating a $2 million U.S. relief-and-rehabilitation package.
The typhoon, considered the most powerful storm to ever make landfall, battered the Philippines with sustained winds close to 190 miles per hour. Thirteen million people have been affected, four million of them displaced, and one million homes have been destroyed. Meanwhile, 2.5 million individuals now rely on food aid. The current reported number of deaths and missing persons is already over 7000 and the number is growing daily. The storm caused mudslides, 30-foot-high storm surges, as well as flash flooding.
“I was greatly distressed to hear about this devastation, which took the lives of so many innocent people in the Philippines, and which added an immense burden to those who were already living in poverty," said Amma. " In a fateful moment, the storm snatched away the dreams and hopes of hundreds of thousands of others who survived the initial disaster. During this time of immense agony and sorrow, Amma’s heart goes to those who have endured this tragedy and prays for their peace and mental strength. She also offers her prayers to the departed souls.”
The relief package will include a $1 million cash donation and another $1 million for children's education. The donation and relief package will come from Mata Amritanandamayi Center (MA Center) in California, said the organization’s president, Ron Gottsegen. “Amma feels the pain of others as if it were her own and responds accordingly,” said Gottsegen. “She says that true spirituality manifests in compassion for the poor and suffering.”
Through the Embracing The World charities, Amma's organizations have been consistent contributors to the relief of suffering throughout the world. In September 2013, Amma’s India-based NGO, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM), launched an $8 million relief-and-rehabilitation program to assist the victims of flash-flooding and landslides in Kedarnath northern India. MAM has been at the forefront of disaster relief following more than a dozen other natural disasters throughout the world since 2001, most notable of which were the $22 million relief efforts following the Great Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004.
Outside of India, Amma’s organizations such as the MA Center have provided $1 million to help children orphaned in the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear disaster of 2011. In this hemisphere, Amma has contributed $1 million to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, following the deadly hurricane of 2005. They have also provided disaster relief in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.
Concluding the announcement made today here in Castro Valley, California, Mr. Jeff Robinov, former President of Warner Brothers Motion Pictures Group, adorned Amma with a garland, in recognition and appreciation for her inspiration and leadership through all these humanitarian projects. "Amma, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do," Robinov spoke before the packed hall, "you are a truly remarkable person."
After the Detroit program, Amma sent Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri to visit the affected areas in order to assess the situation on the ground.
Read about his visit here.