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UC Berkeley Web Feature

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's letter to the campus community on the devastation resulting from the December 26 tsunami

 Chancellor Robert BirgeneauTo Berkeley faculty, staff, students, and alumni:

I join the entire UC Berkeley community in expressing my profound sympathy to the people of South and Southeast Asia as they struggle to cope with the massive physical and emotional devastation of the December 26 earthquake and tsunami. Even as our hearts go out to the victims, we are putting our minds to the task of providing aid, comfort, and expertise wherever it may be needed.

List of relief agencies seeking donations for Asian relief efforts

This continuing disaster represents a humanitarian crisis of historic proportions, and we at UC Berkeley are determined to respond with all the tools at our disposal. The most pressing need, of course, is for donations to relief agencies at work in the affected areas, and I encourage all to give generously. The UC Berkeley NewsCenter has published a full array of places accepting donations as well as a list of campus services for those affected by the devastation. It will be updated regularly.

Many here have deep personal and professional ties to South and Southeast Asia. A number of Berkeley grads live and work in the region, and we are attempting to reach them via e-mail and other means to offer moral support, and to determine how best to provide assistance to the survivors of this nearly incomprehensible tragedy. In the same spirit, we are making efforts to contact universities throughout the area, where colleagues can guide our efforts.

As I write this, campus leaders are actively engaged in finding an appropriate role for UC Berkeley in the international relief effort. We will report on this at a later date. The enormity of the present disaster illustrates the real-world importance of the work we do here at Berkeley. Just last month our world famous Berkeley Seismological Laboratory developed a new early warning system to notify emergency responders within minutes of an earthquake, of the location, the magnitude and the likelihood of a tsunami. We are committed to fulfilling our responsibilities as part of the global community.

Meanwhile, I know I speak for all of us in conveying my heartfelt condolences to those who have lost friends and family in South and Southeast Asia, and in pledging to do all we can to help them recover in the days and months ahead.

Yours sincerely,

Robert J. Birgeneau

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