AMURT (Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team) was one of the first NGOs on the ground after the super-typhoon.
A letter from Dada Dharmavedananda, written soon after the typhoon struck:
First came the greatest earthquake that any of us had ever experienced. Our relief work was still going on for the survivors, when only 3 weeks after the quake, came super typhoon Yolanda, or as known elsewhere hurricane Haiyan.
This one was said to be the strongest hurricane in world history.
In the beginning hours, the news was scattered and mostly in the form of rumors, with electricity cut all over this part of the country. In the worst-hit areas, even cell phone coverage was wiped out.
At least in our Ananda Marga Wellness Center and in the Yoga Center in Cebu, the only losses were numerous trees ripped out by their roots, and the trauma of seeing countless objects roaring past our doorways and windows. In the midst of it, a heartfelt strong kiirtan enabled our own fears to subside. But when the winds diminished we found some of the neighbor’s roofs blown off, including the homes of some of our own staff.
And then it was quiet, and yet still news only came in drops and dribbles. Apparently, at that point, the outside world still knew more than we did.
It is now midnight Tuesday. Yesterday morning we sent a team to survey the damage in northern Cebu Province, where the Eye directly passed. Yesterday evening we sent a team by specially charted ship to survey Tacloban. And this morning we sent another team to the already surveyed northern Cebu Province – this time with food for the suffering.