Santa Margarita, and are trying to visit all areas affected by the
disaster, which according to United Nations estimates killed about
150,000 people -- nearly the population of Newport-Mesa.
"We're trying to hit them all," Tohill said.
The tsunami, triggered Dec. 28 by a major earthquake, caused
destruction along Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Indonesian island of
Sumatra, among other regions.
An online journal written by Gary Kusonoki, leader of the Safe
Harbor team, details the group's efforts. Kusonoki wrote that the
team arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Saturday and that his team's
mission would be to provide whatever immediate aid could be given and
figure out what projects will need to be undertaken in the future.
A group from Costa Mesa's Rock Harbor Church, which had planned a
trip to India before the tsunami struck, arrived near the city of
Hyderabad the day after the disaster. Rock Harbor church members
raised more than $50,000 in donations on Sunday, church spokeswoman
Jen Mulroney said. The money will be sent to those church members
already in India, so they can make care packages.
Many Rock Harbor members contacted the church in the week between
the tsunami and Sunday services, asking how they could help.
"We had a lot of phone calls in the last week, a lot of e-mails
[asking] 'What can we do?' 'What is Rock Harbor doing?'" Mulroney
In India, Rock Harbor's team works with Harvest India, a Christian
group in that country.
The Newport-Mesa Christian Center in Costa Mesa also has a
connection to Harvest India, and that church plans to send a team to
India around the end of the month, associate pastor Jeff Keith said.
"This is such a cataclysmic event, we want to be in the middle of
it as much as we can," Keith said.
Many local religious groups collected special donations for
tsunami victims, and fundraising is ongoing:
* The Islamic Educational Center of Orange County in Costa Mesa
collected about $5,000 for relief efforts, board member Saide Khan
* Members of Newport Center United Methodist Church gave about
$2,000, Pastor Cathleen Coots said.