An Orange County drive to collect blankets, tents, money and other donations for survivors of Colombia's Nevado del Ruiz volcano disaster was launched Tuesday.
"We especially need things like baby oil, baby shampoo, eye drops and other things. We need all the help we can get," said Lucia DeGarcia of Irvine, who has volunteered to head the local drive on behalf of the consul general of Colombia in Los Angeles.
Those who wish to donate money should send it directly to the American Red Cross. DeGarcia said she plans to receive other donations, but first needs a donated office and warehouse.
A Red Cross spokesman said that at least $6,000 already has been received from Orange County residents to aid disaster relief following the eruption of the volcano last week.
More than 25,000 people have died, another 4,000 people have been injured and more than 60,000 have been left homeless, according to estimates by the Colombian Health Ministry.
DeGarcia, who is on the board of the American Red Cross in Orange County, said she launched the effort through the consul general.
"I had to do something to help them," DeGarcia, a native of Colombia, said Tuesday.
She has taken a leave of absence from an Irvine engineering and land development company to coordinate the relief effort here.
DeGarcia said she intends to travel to the stricken area to ensure that donations reach the victims. Two airlines contacted through the consulate will fly the donated items to Miami where they will be transferred to a Colombian airline for the final leg.
In addition to the drive, DeGarcia said a telethon seeking donations will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday on television station KMEX.
Also, the Most Rev. Tomas Clavel will hold a special Mass at 7 p.m. Sunday at St. Barbara's Catholic Church in Santa Ana.