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Tornado recovery efforts at Eureka

August 13, 2016, Kansas, USA

On the evening of July 7th 2016, multiple tornadoes struck Greenwood County Kansas in both a sparsely populated rural area as well as the town of Eureka, KS. Over 50 homes were damaged in the town and nearly half of these were completely destroyed. In the rural countryside, two farmsteads were completely destroyed, one suffered damage only to barns and equipment and the nearby river and forest were devastated for miles.

A group of local Embracing the World Volunteers were inspired to come together led by Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya of the MA Center in Chicago, on Saturday August 13th to assist with continued tornado recovery efforts. Working in the rural area 7 miles northwest of the town of Eureka, a field of scattered debris left by the tornado was cleared. This effort will prevent further damage to farmer’s equipment when the hay and corn fields are harvested later in the summer. The recovered debris included fencing materials, debris from nearby homes that had been leveled and shredded metal parts of farm equipment which had been stored in a nearby barn that had been destroyed by the tornado. So much debris was present in the field that it would have prevented the farmers from even being able to successfully harvest the crops. The devastation to the nearby river and forest was evident and will take many long months if not years to restore to its previous state.

Embracing the World volunteers will continue to provide service to the local community as it recovers from the devastating effects of the storm.

 

 

 

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Amma to provide aid in relation to temple tragedy

Soon after the tragic fire and fireworks explosion at the Paravur Puttingal Devi Temple in Kollam, Kerala, that left more than 100 people dead this morning, Amma responded with a charitable-aid package for the injured and families of the deceased.

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The Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) will provide Rs. 1 lakh to the families of the deceased as well as Rs. 50,000 for the injured and free treatment at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (Amrita Hospital) in Kochi. MAM will also construct free houses for poor families of the deceased and severely injured who lack a house.

“Amma is deeply saddened by the tragic firecracker explosion that took the lives of so many men, women and innocent children and severely injured so many others,” Amma said. “Amma’s heart reaches out to all of them, to their families and their near and dear ones. I have no words to console them, but can only shed tears along with them. With palms joined and with a heart filled with sorrow, Amma prays for the departed souls and for the peace of their loved ones. May the family members of the victims have the mental strength and understanding to bear this pain and move forward in life.”

Amma also questioned the use of firecrackers at temple events. She said, “Every year we hear at least one such tragedy. The government and temple authorities should seriously consider either completely banning the use of firecrackers at temples or to at least minimizing their usage with strict regulation and oversight by the proper authorities.”

At Amma’s request, Amrita Hospital also sent immediately sent three fully equipped ambulances, several doctors and paramedics to the temple to provide free medical aid.

The temple is located just 45 kilometres from the headquarters of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math.

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Last night during Amma’s darshan in Lucknow, CNN-IBN came and asked Amma about the tragedy. Amma responded, “Similar incidents have been happening almost every year, and hundreds of people have been dying. So, [the use of fireworks at temples] is something we need think seriously about. Exploding firecrackers is only done for the happiness of people–not for the happiness of God. God is not deaf. So, I would say it is best to ban it completely or do it namesake, or possibly allow it but only strictly following all the rules and regulations. It is not enough to appeal to the Prime Minister. The cooperation of the state governments and temple authorities is also important. We should also know the public opinion on it. It may hurt the religious feeling of a certain section of society. So, it is best to consult the state government, temple authorities and devotees. But I can certainly bring it to the Prime Minister’s attention.”

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Chennai flood relief updates

Amma has always led by example, and her senior disciples follow suit. Here, her senior disciples personally unload the food materials from the truck, distribute food packages to those affected by the flooding. They are joined by more than 500 volunteers providing food, clothing, rescue operations, medical attention and essential provisions. We also donated Rs. 5 crore to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for emergency relief for those affected by the disaster.

 

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MAM donates Rs. 5 crores for Chennai flood relief

8 Dec 2015, Chennai

In the wake of the colossal loss and damages due to the unprecedented rains in Chennai and parts of Tamil Nadu, MAM donated Rs.5 Crores towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for relief and rehabilitation  activities. On behalf of MAM, Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri met Dr J.Jayalalitha, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in Chennai and handed over the amount.

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As directed by Amma, MAM volunteers have been actively participating in the relief work from the last week of November. From December 1st  around 500 volunteers comprising of students & faculties from the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham campuses in Bangalore and Coimbatore along with devotees have been involved in relief activities including rescuing the stranded to safer places, distribution of food, medicines, essential provisions, utensils, stove, clothes, blankets, toiletries and other essentials in badly affected areas like MGR Nagar, Choolaipallam, Dr. Kaanunagar, Saidapet, Jafferkhanpet, Samiarmadom, Nallankuppam in Ashok Nagar, Tarapakkam and Sadanandapuram.

A Telemedicine van, two fully equipped ambulances which includes a cardiac unit, an emergency unit, a testing unit to detect epidemic diseases in two minutes, colour ultra sonography, X-ray radiography, mini operation theater, small delivery room, electro-cardiography and light microscopy  along with a 25-member team of doctors and paramedics from Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences reached Chennai today and plunged into service of providing medical help. These teams will be fully equipped to handle any outbreak of epidemics and will also be providing preventive measures.

Over the years, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) has been effectively helping in post-disaster situations. Starting from the earthquake in Lattur Maharashtra, the MAM was one of the biggest agencies post-tsunami to render immediate aid in the form of temporary shelters, food, clothing, etc. to long-term solutions like housing, vocational training etc. After the natural calamity in Uttarakhand, MAM is still active there helping rebuild houses, schools, colleges and providing vocational training, empowering women and tablet-aided learning for children.

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Boat rescue, food and clothing to the flood affected Chennai

Due to incessant heavy rain, many low-lying areas of the city of Chennai were inundated on the late night of 1st December. Water from the overflowing Adyar River submerged houses lying within a kilometer either side of the river, and floodwaters reached many other areas as well. Hundreds of thousands of  people have been affected.

In many houses near the river, even the first floor was submerged, forcing people to take shelter on open terraces where they were exposed to rain and cold wind. They were stranded there as the water level on the streets in some areas was approximately 40 feet deep.

Amma sent volunteers to begin rescue operations in motor boats on December 2nd. Ashram residents and devotees courageously risked their own lives to rescue people who had been trapped by the rising floodwaters, using ropes to safeguard themselves from being carried away by powerful currents. Food, drinking water and new sets of clothing was provided for evacuees.

Food preparation for the flood affected at the Ashram

Packaged drinking water and food were supplied to those who preferred to stay in their homes. Even now, after the water has receded, our volunteers are continuing to provide meals for thousands of affected people each day.

Hundreds of thousands of sets of clothing were also distributed to the flood affected people of Chennai.

 

 

 

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Food for the flood affected in Chennai

23 Nov 2015, Chennai

Due to unusually heavy rainfall over the past few weeks, the Adyar River overflowed its banks, ‪flooding‬ thousands of houses in the Indian city of Chennai. Tens of thousands of people have been impacted by the flooding. In one of the hardest-hit areas — Choolaipallam, MGR Nagar, South Chennai — Led by Br. Vinayamrita, MAM volunteers have been providing free breakfast, lunch and dinner to the affected people since November 20th and continue to do so. About 1,000 people are being fed three times a day.‬

 

 

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Flood relief work in Japan

September 2015, Japan

Following more than a week of rains in early September, Tropical Storm Etau could not have hit eastern Japan at a worse time. On September 9th, Etau began to further inundate the already rain-soaked terrain north of Tokyo—dumping as much as 2 more feet (65 cm) of rain in 24 hours in some areas. The storm finally caused levees to fail and rivers to overflow their banks, leading to massive flooding and hundreds of landslides. By September 12, the flooding had ravaged Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Miyagi Prefectures, causing nearly $100 million of damage across the entire region and killing seven people. Over 18,000 homes were flooded, and nearly 3000 people still remain in evacuation shelters.

Our volunteers immediately arrived on the scene in Joso, one of the hardest hit cities. Additional volunteers also arrived from the Japanese student volunteer organization, IVUSA, many of whom had already worked with us in India on our disaster relief programs in Uttarakhand, Nagapattinam, and Pune. They quickly rekindled the joyous spirit in which they had previously served in India, and their enthusiasm for helping others even managed to bring smiles to the faces of the flood survivors as well. Manning a tented kitchen in a park encircled by flood wreckage, the combined teams of Embracing The World and IVUSA teams cooked some 500 meals of Japanese soup and rice for lunch and Indian curry for dinner for the displaced flood victims. Most of the meal recipients reported that our meals were the first hot food they had eaten since the flooding began many days earlier.

In teams of 10, the volunteers visited Joso’s flooded houses. Muddy waters often still filled these homes, so the ETW-IVUSA teams moved furniture, appliances, tatami mats, and other household items to drier places. Our volunteers’ enthusiastic and compassionate service not only improved the physical circumstances of the flood victims, but also warmed the hearts and lit the faces of those victims as well.

-Das

 

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Amrita disaster relief team to visit flood affected Rajasthan & Gujarat

6 Aug 2015, Kochi
Amrita institute of medical sciences disaster relief team left Kochi for flood affected areas of Rajasthan & Gujarat. With all the modern equipment for treatment – a telemedicine unit, two emergency ambulances consisting of facilities to recognise rat fever, dengue fever and jaundice in two minutes along with cardiac emergency unit, colour ultra sonography, x-ray, radiography, small operation theatre, delivery room, ECG unit, and light microscopy unit – they were flagged off from Kochi today.

The disaster team consists of 25 members which includes doctors, nurses and paramedics.

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Kavre Palanchowk – Nepal earthquake disaster relief

Kavre was one of the most affected districts, so much so that in the first photo you can see Shri. Upareti ex-Labour Minister of Nepal receiving blankets and windcheaters and afterwards tin sheets from us. His houses in the village were totally devastated. He was so moved by our help that he declared that he would come to Kerala to express his gratitude to Amma for helping in this hour of need. Again, even before we packed and left for the next village people had already started using the tin sheets as roofing over makeshift bamboo frames they had put up.

The next place we covered was Kudari Gaon in which hundreds of affected had been shortlisted to receive aid from us. The villagers were very grateful to us and honoured our representatives with scarves as is the local custom.
Maadan Kudari Gaon Ward No. 4,5,6,7,8
4 – Kudari Mathilo Tol
5 – Kudari Tallo Tol
6 – Bhidantali Tol
7 – Taadi
8 – Chaula Tol

The Hon’ble Prime Minster welcomed Amma’s international organisation to Nepal and requested to continue its relief and rehabilitation activities in affected areas of Nepal.

– Dass

 

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Serving in Sindhupal Chowk, Nepal Earthquake

We received a plea from some villages in Melamchi in Sindhupal Chowk asking for help as very little help was reaching them. By this time tarpaulins were simply not available in Nepal so it was being sourced through India from where it could take anything between a week or ten days for it to get to us. And then the extra time required for carting it to the villages. So rather than wait for so long to meet a need which was so urgent, we decided to provide tin sheets which would serve both as a temporary shelter and could be used for roofing when they were able to build a house.

We were able to provide the best quality tin sheets and sacks of rice, cooking oil, good quality wind cheaters and blankets to villagers in these areas.

The areas which benefitted:
1. Thakure
2. Bangaon
3. Bimire
4. Pandit Tol
5. Acharya Tol
6. Baguwa
7. Shikharpur
8. Nawalpur

Melamchi Nagar Palika Ward no.6 – Sacks of Rice; Cooking Oil; Windcheater(as they were having unseasonal rains to protect them both from the cold as well as rain); Blanket & Tin Sheets for roofing for Acharya Tol

 

– Dass