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Amma offers aid to typhoon victims

$2 million package of aid headed to Philippines

A renowned spiritual leader with a San Ramon connection is raising money to help typhoon victims in the Philippines.

Mata Amritanandamayi Devi – better known as Amma or the hugging saint – has an ashram in unincorporated San Ramon and makes regular appearances in the area every year or so.

Devi's organization also runs a large humanitarian mission, Embracing the World, and it's focusing its attention on the 13 million victims of Typhoon Yolanda, considered to be the most powerful storm to ever make landfall with winds of nearly 200 mph.

Some 7,000 people died as a result of the typhoon, with the number continuing to rise. Four million Filipinos have been displaced, one million have lost their homes and 2.5 million rely on food aid to survive.

Embracing the World has put together a $2 million aid package for the Leyte region, the area most severely hit by Typhoon Yolanda, with $1 million earmarked for children and their educational needs.

Devi also sent a delegation to the region; there, they met with local officials, including local mayors and provincial governors.

In a message to her followers, she asked for prayers to those who died in the typhoon.

According to Embracing the World, it has provided more than $50 million in aid to disaster survivors over the last 10 years.

Devi's philanthropy through Embracing the World has provided aid to hundreds of thousands throughout the world including those affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Great East Japan earthquake in 2011 and the flash flood in Kedarnath, North India, according to the group.

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