Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Mike Bradley ()
Communications and External Relations


UT-Battelle to match tsunami relief effort at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Jan. 6, 2005 — UT-Battelle will match tsunami relief contributions from Oak Ridge National Laboratory employees, many of whom are from countries hit hardest by the disaster, ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth announced Thursday.

Lab officials formed the plan this week directing staff contributions to the American Red Cross to help victims recover from the disaster that has killed more than 100,000 people. "All of us were moved by the terrible scenes of suffering we witnessed in the aftermath of the tsunami that has brought unimaginable devastation to vast areas of coastal Asia and Africa," Wadsworth said. "We are encouraging staff members to join the millions who are reaching out to help those in serious need. This is a moment when we need to be counted."

Wadsworth said matching funds from UT-Battelle will be sent to the American Red Cross or applied to a specific project such as the rebuilding of a school or orphanage. The project will be determined by the UT-Battelle Board of Directors with input and suggestions from ORNL staff.

ORNL's numerous foreign national staff and guest researchers include citizens from India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka and other nations directly affected by the tsunami.

"Some ORNL employees have personal ties to the region directly affected by this tragedy," said Brenda Hackworth, ORNL Community Outreach manager. "Their insight and suggestions will help us locate and provide assistance to specific victims with special needs, such as children."

An account, ORNL Tsunami Relief, has been established at the onsite ORNL Federal Credit Union for staff donations, and contributions can be made at any ORNL credit union branch. UT-Battelle also will match lab employee donations to the Red Cross and other relief organizations made prior to the ORNL campaign.

The relief drive ends January 20.

ORNL technology also is helping tsunami relief agencies. The LandScan system developed at the lab is being used to generate population distribution maps to help relief workers locate tsunami victims along the eastern coast of hard-hit Sri Lanka and other areas.

"As terrible as this tragedy is, we can take pride that ORNL is heavily involved in efforts by the United Nations to identify and locate populations dislocated by the tragedy," Wadsworth said. "LandScan technology has proven to be of enormous value."

ORNL is a multiprogram laboratory managed for the Department of Energy by UT-Battelle.