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UC Berkeley Web Feature

Message from Chancellor Birgeneau on the devastation resulting from Hurricane Katrina

To Berkeley faculty, staff, students, and alumni:

Chancellor Robert J. BirgeneauI join the entire UC Berkeley community in expressing my profound sympathy to the people of New Orleans, Louisiana and the coastal regions in Mississippi and other states who are struggling with the ongoing devastation from Hurricane Katrina. The scope of the disaster is still increasing and while we express our immediate concern, we are already planning to offer what expertise and aid our academic community can extend both now and in the coming weeks and months.

As I write this, campus leaders are actively engaged in finding an appropriate role for UC Berkeley in the relief effort. In Berkeley tradition, we are committed to fulfilling our responsibilities to public service.

To address immediate needs of food, water and shelter, I encourage all members of the UC Berkeley community to donate directly to one of the many humanitarian groups best equipped to provide for those affected by the disaster. A partial list of such agencies can be found at http://www.fema.gov/press/2005/resources_katrina.shtm#canhelp.

If you receive a call from a friend or relative who is trapped in the Katrina-afflicted region and needs to be rescued, please pass the information along immediately to the U.S. Coast Guard's Rescue Line at 800-323-7233
The enormity of the present disaster illustrates the real-world importance of the work we do here at Berkeley. As we did with the Tsunami relief efforts, we will be looking at ways in which we can bring our campus expertise together to help the area that has been struck by this terrible natural disaster deal with the immediate problems that it faces and devise solutions for the future so that communities can be rebuilt.

Many here, including our faculty, staff and students, have deep personal and professional ties to the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. About 70 UC Berkeley students are from the region and we are reaching out to them via e-mail and other means to offer moral support and determine the best way to assist them at this time. We are also working with universities in the region and through the Association of American Universities (AAU) to determine if we can provide any direct assistance to students, researchers and faculty at affected colleges and universities so they may continue their studies and research.

All of us here at UC Berkeley are deeply moved by the terrible toll of this disaster and the enormous tragedy of it. We pledge to do all we can to help the people of New Orleans and the entire region struck by Hurricane Katrina to recover in the days and months ahead.

Yours sincerely,

Robert J. Birgeneau,
Chancellor