The Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) is launching a 50-crore relief-and-rehabilitation program to help victims of June 2013 Kedarnath flash-flooding and landslides. This project will be officially launched during Amritavarsham60—the 60th Birthday Celebrations of world-renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, fondly known throughout the world as “Amma.”
MAM started its Kedarnath-region relief-and-rehabilitation soon after the flooding. By 1 July 2013, a team of volunteers—including doctors, nurses, monastic disciples of Mata Amritanandamayi—set up a base camp at Agastya Muni in Rudraprayag District.
More doctors, nurses, techs and other MAM volunteers soon joined the team, and an ambulance and telemedicine van were soon sent from the Amrita Institute of Medicine (also known as AIMS or Amrita Hospital), MAM’s super-specialty hospital in Kochi, Kerala. MAM volunteers provided free medical consultations and medicine to approximately 8,000 people in the disaster-stuck area from July 1 – 20.
Aside from at the base camp in Agastya Muni, the MAM volunteers also travelled to a number of other villages to provide medical care, including Siddha Saur, Rudraprayag, Devli, Lambgondi, Andrewadi, Triyuginarayan, Toshi, Basukedar, Chandrapuri and Laksar.
Through its 50-crore relief-and-rehabilitation package, MAM will build approximately 500 houses—the sum total of all the homes destroyed by the flooding in 42 selected villages in the districts of Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi. These homes will be built on common sites provided by the Uttarakhand State Government.
MAM will also build centrally located schools and medical clinics to service the disaster victims. Impoverished children from these villages will be enrolled in MAM’s Vidyamritam scholarships-for-the-poor program. Widows, physically and mentally handicapped people from these villages as well as others in need of financial aid will be enrolled in MAM’s Amrita Nidhi pensions-for-life program. MAM will also expand its AmritaSREE (Amrita Self-Reliance Education & Employment) Program to help women in the villages start small home-businesses. MAM will also construct and run an orphanage/children’s care-home in the area for children who no longer have a proper care structure in place.
MAM has been heavily active in disaster relief since 2001 when it rebuilt three entire villages (a total of 1,200 earthquake-resistant homes) following the Bhuj earthquake. Since, it has provided extensive medical aid, food and other supplies following flooding in Bihar (2008), Gujarat (2006) and Mumbai (2005). Following the floods in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh (2009), it offered similar aid and rebuilt 1,000 homes. It also provided aid in West Bengal following Cyclone Aila (2009) and the Kashmir earthquake (2004).
MAM’s most extensive disaster-relief followed the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, wherein it built 6,200 tsunami-resistant homes, provided 700 fishing boats, built an evacuation bridge and provided vocational training for 2,500 tsunami-effected villagers.
Outside of India, Amma’s devotees, operating under the name Embracing the World (ETW), provided $1 million U.S. to help children orphaned in the Japan Earthquake/Tsunami (2011) and contributed $1 million U.S. to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund following the deadly hurricanes of 2005. ETW also provided medical supplies, blankets and scholarships to 30 students following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.
MAM has already built more than 45,000 homes for the homeless throughout India as part of its ongoing Amrita Kuteeram housing project. It often constructs entire villages of homes, complete with medical centers, community halls, roads and bore wells. States and Union Territories that have benefitted from the Amrita Kuteeram program include Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Puducherry, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andaman Islands and Kerala.
MAM is currently providing 41,000 scholarships for impoverished children throughout India through its Vidyamritam scholarship program.
MAM is currently providing pensions to 59,000 widows and physically and mentally challenged people throughout India through its Amrita Nidhi program.
Through AmritaSREE, MAM has already helped put more than 100,000 women into more than 6,000 self-help groups.