Statement on the Indian Ocean Tsunami

January 5, 2005

On behalf of the entire Columbia community, I extend my deepest sympathy to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. We mourn the profound and tragic loss of so many lives and offer our condolences to the many millions of people throughout the Indian Ocean rim nations and around the world who have suffered the loss of their loved ones, homes and livelihoods as a result of this calamity.

The tsunami has wrought devastation of an epic scale. Attending to the survivors; delivering urgently needed food, medicine and supplies; and rebuilding homes, communities, towns and cities will require that the global community work together in unprecedented ways.

Governments, corporations, multilateral organizations, nonprofits, universities—and, of course, individuals—all have an important part to play in this effort. Columbia public health experts, physicians, seismologists, geographers and engineers are currently among those working in impacted areas to help bring immediate relief and to meet the formidable challenges that lie ahead. Here at home, Columbians are helping in numerous ways, not least by raising funds to help send colleagues overseas so that they, too, can add their knowledge and expertise to the relief effort.

As members of the global community, we share the responsibility of doing whatever we can, in ways both large and small, to help those whose lives have been affected to recover from this devastating tragedy and rebuild for the future.