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MIT to remember victims of China, Myanmar disasters on May 27

MIT will observe a moment of reflection on Tuesday, May 27, for the tens of thousands of people who lost their lives this month in natural disasters in China and Myanmar.

Chaplain to the Institute Robert Randolph announced that MIT's chapel bell will toll for three minutes beginning at noon Tuesday, and he asked members of the community to use the time to reflect on their responsibilities in light of the tragedies in Myanmar and China.

"We in the United States stand with the people of these nations as they grapple with disasters that stagger the imagination," Randolph said.

More than 74,000 people were killed or missing as a result of a massive earthquake May 12 in China's Sichuan province. Tens of thousands more were said to be dead or missing following Cyclone Nargis' direct hit on Myamar on May 3.

The moment of observation comes as many organizations and individuals at MIT are taking part in relief efforts.

The Chinese Students and Scholars Association, which has about 650 members, launched a fund-raising drive shortly after news of the quake first broke.

CSSA Co-President Lu Gao, a graduate student in urban studies and planning, said the group had raised more than $37,000 as of May 21. Donations are being accepted online at

Along with dozens of Chinese groups from the greater Boston community, CSSA is also helping to organize a benefit concert Sunday, May 25 at Kresge Auditorium. Among those scheduled to attend are Kirk Kolenbrander, MIT's vice president for Institute affairs and secretary of the Corporation, and a high-ranking official from the Chinese consulate in New York.

For more information on the concert, please visit

Earlier this month, Shuguang Zhang, associate director in the Center for Biomedical Engineering, left on a previously scheduled visit to his hometown of Chengdu--provincial capital of the quake-stricken Sichuan province.

"It was a devastating disaster. But Chinese people help each other, and so does the government that acted so swiftly," said Zhang, adding that he would be doing what he could to assist relief efforts.

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