International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will provide 6,000 families in Gaza (about 42,000 people) with food, blankets, and hygiene supplies with a new $750,000 grant from ARD Inc. through funding by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). IOCC is targeting the neediest, including those who have been displaced or are living in war-damaged homes, have experienced the death or injury of a family member, or who have a primary bread winner that is unemployed as a result of the conflict.
The deadliest conflict in Gaza in four decades has killed 1,300, wounded 5,300, and displaced more than 26,000. IOCC’s Jerusalem-based staff responded quickly to the crisis, coordinating efforts with local organizations and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem to deliver fortified biscuits and milk to 23,000 children and adults residing in shelters and affected communities throughout Gaza. IOCC also assisted beleaguered hospitals and shelters by providing thousands of quilts and hygiene kits.
“The situation in Gaza remains very critical,” says Dirk Lackovic’-Van Gorp, IOCC representative for Jerusalem/West Bank/Gaza. “Significant numbers of people need food and the population is very traumatized and in need of psychological counseling.” Officials estimate that 14,000 homes have been partially or completely destroyed and that schools and hospitals, as well as water, sewage and electrical facilities, have all sustained significant damage.
IOCC is also planning a $175,000 program through funding from Action by Churches Together (ACT) that will rebuild community centers and provide work for unemployed construction workers. His Beatitude Theophilus III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, has blessed IOCC efforts and authorized it to work with His Grace Bishop Alexios of Gaza to assist 30 isolated and vulnerable Orthodox families in Gaza City with $20,000 in emergency home repairs.
Help IOCC speed relief to families who have been caught in this conflict. Visit www.iocc.org, call IOCC toll free at 1-877-803-4622, or mail a check or money order payable to “IOCC” and write “Middle East Relief” in the memo line to: IOCC, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225.
IOCC, founded in 1992 as the official humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), has implemented over $300 million in relief and development programs in more than 33 countries around the world.