(14 Mar '01)
The earthquake that struck Gujarat in 2001 claimed the lives of almost 20,000 people.
Amma’s response was immediate. AIMS Hospital dispatched a disaster-relief team of a dozen surgeons and two fully equipped ambulances that facilitated expert trauma care in the devastated areas. The doctors performed lifesaving operations in extremely makeshift conditions. One hundred students from Amrita University helped by recovering bodies from the rubble, distributing clothes and feeding and comforting survivors.
After the initial crisis was over, Amma’s monastic disciples and volunteers remained, working tirelessly to help rebuild the people’s lives. MAM constructed three villages—a total of 1,200 earthquake-proof houses, as well as community halls, a school, several temples and a mosque.
At a joyful inauguration, where thousands came to greet Amma, L.K. Advani, the deputy prime minister of India, distributed keys to the beneficiaries. Out of gratitude, the people renamed their villages after Amma.
Four years later, Amma’s support still had such an impact on the people that the village leaders made the three-day journey to Kerala to help Amma rebuild houses for tsunami victims.