23 September 2005, Amritapuri
In a national press conference today at Amritapuri Ashram, Amma announced that her organization in America, the Mata Amritanandamayi Center, would be providing one-million U.S.D. [Rs. 43,800,000] in aid to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, the storm that devastated New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as coastal areas of Mississippi and Alabama.
At the crowded press conference, Amma answered questions about the Mata Amritanandamayi Math’s massive Tsunami Rehabilitation & Relief Project, as well as other ongoing service projects of the Math.
Amma also announced that so far the Ashram has completed 1,200 of the 6,200 tsunami-relief houses it has undertaken to construct throughout India and Sri Lanka.
Even though the Ashram has pledged 100 crores in Tsunami relief Aid, in fact the effective value of the amount is closer to 200 crores, because so much of the work is being done by volunteers, Amma said.
Amma also discussed future Ashram social-welfare projects,such as her plans to uplift sex workers in Mumbai and Calcutta and her desire to set up a programme to reduce India’s suicide rate, particularly in Kerala.
As to the Hurricane Katrina relief, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math has a number of centres in the United States,including the M.A. Center in San Ramon, California.There are also some 200 satsang centers throughout the United States, comprised of supportive devotee volunteers.
Soon after the hurricane struck, Amma sent the head of the M.A. Center, her disciple Brahmachari Dayamrita chaitanya, to the affected areas to assess the best ways for Amma’s organization to help the hurricane victims. So far, the main areas in which the M.A. Center has helped have been through the provision of food,clothing and school supplies, as well as giving emotional support.