MIT's Response to Typhoon Haiyan

November 19, 2013

To Members of the MIT Community:

We are writing to update you about MIT’s plans in response to the devastation in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan. As past natural disasters have taught us, the process of repair and rebuilding will require great effort, focus and commitment over time. There are currently many efforts already underway on campus and in the greater Boston community to provide support and comfort to those affected by the storm. For example, the MIT Filipino Students Association and members of the greater Boston Filipino community hosted a mass at Kresge Chapel in the immediate aftermath of the storm and additional events are expected in the days and weeks to come. Meanwhile, the MIT community has begun a process of engagement in a number of ways.

Reaching out to those with ties to the Philippines

We are focused most immediately on connecting with those members of the MIT community with family, friends and other roots in the Philippines. MIT offices reporting to the Chancellor have reached out directly to all of our Filipino students to offer any support that they may need at this time. We are in the process of also reaching out to any faculty or staff in our community with similar ties and who may be in need of support. We continue to extend our deepest condolences to the people of the Philippines and all who have been affected by this tragedy. Any member of the MIT community who might benefit from professional support during this difficult time is encouraged to contact MIT Medical’s Mental Health and Counseling or Student Support Services.

Alumni outreach

At least 134 MIT alumni list the Philippines as their home. The Alumni Association has invited all alumni in the Philippines to indicate that they are safe by sending a Twitter message to @MIT_alumni.

Community input and aiding the recovery process

We are currently exploring the ways that MIT potentially can help the people of the Philippines in their recovery. Professor Christopher Capozzola of the History Section has been appointed as the faculty lead for this effort and he will coordinate faculty input. Several academic departments across the Institute have begun to put forward ideas that draw upon the expertise of our faculty, students and staff in areas related to the reconstruction of urban areas and civil infrastructure, and we expect to meet soon with relevant individuals to explore these ideas more closely. We hope to be able to apply MIT’s expertise and technological resources to aid in immediate recovery and contribute to long-term resilience. If you have ideas for action and are interested in working with us to coordinate efforts, please email your ideas to philippines-recovery@mit.edu. Likewise, if you would like to become involved with the planning process, please let us know via this email address.

Disaster relief

If you are interested in donating to relief efforts, you may make donations in any amount through the MIT Philippines Relief Fund.

We are confident that the Institute will continue to draw upon the global reach of our community for relief and support efforts in the Philippines, bringing expertise as well as compassion to this effort. We will continue to keep you updated as our efforts progress.

Sincerely,

Martin Schmidt, Acting Provost
Steven Hall, Faculty Chair