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Hurricane Katrina

Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita—which struck the Gulf Area of the United States in August and September 2005, respectively—Amma sent a message to her service groups in America, asking them to think of the best way they could help the affected people: "Amma is heartbroken over Hurricane Katrina and how it killed hundreds of people and destroyed an entire city and all its wealth. No words can pacify those whose life and livelihood were intricately connected with this city. … How can we console them? How can we relieve their pain, the emotional turmoil they are going through? Besides providing food, clothing and shelter, how can we help them regain faith, courage, optimism and self-confidence? Most importantly, how can we lend a hand to the children, the sick and the elderly? We should contemplate deeply on these questions, find the right answers and implement them immediately."

More than 100 of Amma’s service groups throughout North America responded by giving carloads, vanloads and truckloads of food, clothing, school supplies and other essential items. Extensive medical care and emotional support was given. Many visited relief sites and helped in any way needed. "Project Katrina Reunite," an Internet-based project helping displaced persons locate one another, was initiated. More than 150 volunteers participated in this endeavour, and several hundred missing persons were thus reunited with their loved ones.

Then, on December 8th 2005, the Mata Amritanandamayi Center (located in San Ramon, California) donated $1 million U.S. (Rs. 4.3 crores) to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. Swami Ramakrishnananda and Brahmachari Dayamrita Chaitanya (representing the M.A. Center) personally handed over the check to former President Clinton. The donation is one of the largest the Fund—which is run by former U.S. Presidents George Bush, Sr., and Bill Clinton—received from a non-governmental organisation.

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Many are left homeless

Hurricane Katrina causes devastation

Former President Clinton is presented with a cheque