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Tsunami Relief

On Black Sunday, December 26, 2004, one of the worst earthquakes in the history of the planet took place in the Indian Ocean off of the coast of Indonesia, and was followed by a tsunami that destroyed coastal towns across the Indian Ocean. Almost immediately, Chad Kymal, Chief Technical Officer and the founder of Omnex and President of the Amma Center of Michigan, swung into action. Kymals local Amma Center, a humanitarian and spiritual organization, contributed $300,000 to reconstruct 500 homes for the tsunami-affected areas in the South India states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Tsunami Relief Omnex Founder Chad Kymal appraises devastation in the village of Nagaptinam.

Founder Chad Kymal appraises devastation in the village of Nagaptinam.

Kymal and the entire international Amma Organization actively participated in massive relief operations in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry. In February, 2005, Kymal visited the towns of Nagaptinam and Allapad. After returning from his February trip, Chad and the rest of leadership of the Amma Center of Michigan decided that they would adopt both towns and help the people of Nagaptinam and Allapad put their lives back together. Chad said, "In my opinion, what we are doing in Nagapatinam and Allapad is just a small gesture in the big picture, but we will do all that we can to help these two villages." After returning from India, Chad began making presentations to various groups around the country to raise money for this cause. On April 15, 2005, Chad arranged a concert at a local high school to benefit survivors of the Tsunami. After spending much of the Spring of 2005 raising funds, in the summer of 2005, Chad and his family returned to southern India to build houses.

Contributions received by Chad's Amma Center of Michigan became part of the larger operations run out of Amma's Ashram, known as M. A. Math. M. A. Math pledged a total of $23 million towards Tsunami relief and rehabilitation in India and Sri Lanka. But, in truth, altogether the cost of the rebuilding project is nearly $46 million, which has prompted volunteers to do much of the work themselves.

Some of the ways volunteers helped included excavating devastated areas for remains, making mass funeral arrangements for the the unclaimed victims, cleaning government-run relief camps, serving food, distributing clothing, and constructing both temporary shelters and permanent homes. Details follow:

  • The Ashram created three relief camps on the Amritapuri campus of the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham the day the tsunami struck. About 4,000 people stayed there for the first 15 days after the tsunami. About 2,000 of these evacuees continued staying there for four months.
  • The M.A.Math built temporary shelters in Kerala for 250 families and temporary shelters for 300 families in Tamil Nadu. The shelters were completed on 13 January 2005 and were equipped with electric lights, fans running water and TV.
  • Permanent homes are now being constructed at a fast pace. Presently, construction of over 1200 houses has been completed out of the 6200 houses pledged to be built in different locations.
  • So far the M.A.Math has served more than 7.5 million meals throughout Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • The establishment of medical camps for the treatment of the victims in all the affected areas. Six ambulances from AIMS, the Ashram's charitable hospital in Cochin, were sent to nearby areas in Kollam district to facilitate doctors and nurses in treating the distressed and injured. They made rounds of the tsunami-affected areas and relief camps for four months, initially visiting each camp every two hours.
  • Vocational training and jobs are being provided. Close to 2500 youths are being trained for jobs in Amma's institutions. Additionally, the organization is providing boats and nets to the fisherman who lost everything in the area.
  • An orphanage is being started in Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu in order to take care of approximately 350 children who lost their parents in the tsunami. 50 children orphaned by the tsunami in Chennai District are being looked after.

Given the scope of the tsunami disaster, the work of rebuilding lives and livelihoods may take some time. More information may be found at, and contributions made at www.ammamich.org.

Since the tsunami disaster, Kymal's Amma Center of Michigan has also contributed time, clothes, food and relocation to Katrina hurricane victims as well.

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