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REGIONAL REPORT : SAN PEDRO : Driving Force Behind Aid for Bosnian War Victims

May 19, 1994|GORDON DILLOW

When Santa Monica tow truck driver Stewart Resmer put out a call last month for relief supplies for Bosnian war victims, hundreds of people throughout Los Angeles brought tons of food, clothing and medical supplies to Berth 53 in San Pedro.

Three weeks later, the more than five tons of relief supplies are on a ship somewhere between Savannah, Ga., and the Adriatic Sea. They are not bound directly for Bosnia but for a church organization in Croatia.

"I'm comfortable with it," said Resmer, 43, who started the relief drive last month on an impulse. "I think (the supplies) are going to get to people who need them."

But given the conflicts and suspicions between Bosnian Muslims, largely Roman Catholic Croatians and largely Eastern Orthodox Christian Serbs, some question whether relief supplies sent to a Croatian church organization will go to Bosnian Muslim hands.

A representative of the Croatian community in Los Angeles, however, said the relief supplies will be distributed to needy people in the war-ravaged areas of Bosnia regardless of ethnic background.

The drive to send relief supplies began in April, when Resmer asked a Santa Monica public radio station to broadcast an appeal to bring food, clothing and medical supplies to San Pedro.

The Croatian American Club paid about $2,600 for a shipping container and freight charges. A spokeswoman for A. Hartrodt (USA), a San Pedro shipping company, said the relief shipment was sent by rail to Savannah and loaded aboard the Sarajevo Express, which left May 8. The supplies will be delivered to the Croatian port of Rijeka in about a month and then taken to the city of Split.

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