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On 8th November 2013, a Category 5 typhoon, named Haiyan, (also known as Super Typhoon Yolanda) made landfall in Guiuan, a small town in the Eastern Samar province of the Philippines. The storm affected an estimated 15 million people, with 6,300 reported dead.

There was widespread devastation from the storm surge in Tacloban City, with many buildings destroyed, trees knocked over, and cars piled up. The low-lying areas on the eastern side of Tacloban City were hardest hit, with some areas completely washed away. Flooding extended for 1 km (0.62 mi) inland on the east coast of the province. City administrator Tecson John Lim stated that roughly ninety percent of the city had been destroyed. Journalists on the ground have described the devastation as, "off the scale, and apocalyptic". Many families lost some family members or relatives; families came in from outlying provinces looking for relatives, especially children, who may have been washed away. The entire first floor of the Tacloban City Convention Centre, which was serving as an evacuation shelter, was submerged by the storm surge. Many residents in the building were caught off-guard by the fast rising waters and subsequently drowned or were injured in the building.

There was an immediate response from the Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO). Staff and supplies were deployed with many volunteers from around the world participating. Over the course of the next two years, community service programmes including food for the needy, medical clinics, education in human values programmes and assistance to build new class rooms in public school were provided. A permanent Sathya Sai Maternity and Medical Clinic was established in 2015. More than 100 international Sai volunteers participated in the relief efforts. They were supported by a group of local volunteers who not only hosted the international volunteers but also managed the finance and logistics with transfers from Manila to Tacloban. The local Sathya Sai volunteers coordinated the purchase of medicines and shipping them by military flights. At times a volunteer had to travel 24 hours by truck over land and sea, to get the medicines to Tacloban in time for a medical camp.

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