Friday, December 31, 2004

Groups launch
efforts to aid
tsunami relief

Thuy La, an East-West Center student from Vietnam, plans to sing a Vietnamese song on Sunday for her "dear friend" and roommate, who has returned to Indonesia after losing her mother and two sisters in the tsunami that swept through southern Asia.

The vocal tribute, a song called "Happy Birthday, Mom," will be part of a fund-raising event for the East-West Center Tsunami Relief Fund praised by Secretary of State Colin Powell for its efforts.

The Ford Foundation provided emergency airline tickets home for La's roommate, teacher Nurhayati Idris, 41, and other affected students enrolled in a program for ethnic minorities from Asia and Pacific countries.

The 2 p.m. program at the center's Imin Center will include condolences in their native language by students from each country hit by the tsunami.

The relief fund had raised $9,000 by yesterday afternoon, said East-West Center spokeswoman Karen Knudsen.

In a letter dated Tuesday to East-West Center President Charles Morrison, Powell noted that many participants in East-West Center programs are from the countries and communities hardest hit by the tsunamis.

Powell expressed U.S. government condolences for the victims and pledged government support for relief, disease prevention and rebuilding efforts as well as finding ways to broadcast early warnings to lessen the toll from future tsunamis.

"However, governments alone cannot do the job," Powell wrote, "and so I applaud you and all those other volunteers and contributors who are doing so much to bring help to the victims."

Morrison said the center and the Pacific Disaster Center on Maui would organize an international workshop to discuss a stronger regional tsunami warning system for southern Asia.

The Pipeline Cafe in Kakaako will also host a fund-raiser with live bands on Jan. 9, with proceeds going to the East-West Center fund.

That relief fund is one of several in the community seeking donations for tsunami victims.

The American Red Cross is seeking donations for its International Response Fund, and the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu has established a tsunami emergency fund.

Two events will be held to remember tsunami victims.

The Rev. Thich Thong of the Chan Khong Monastery will hold a ceremony at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The monastery is at 1103 Hind Iuka Drive. Pastor Sam Sherrard of the Leeward Community Church in Pearl City also will hold a memorial service for tsunami victims at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 8. The church is at 1860 Komo Mai Drive.

Donations for Sri Lankan victims also can be dropped off at Central Pacific Bank branches. Make checks out to the Hawaii Sri Lanka Tsunami Relief Fund.


East-West Center Tsunami Relief page
American Red Cross Hawaii
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

E-mail to City Desk


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