ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES (IOCC)
110 West Road, Suite 360, Baltimore, Md. 21204 Tel: (410) 243-9820 Fax:
Web: www.iocc.org E-mail: news@...
For immediate release
September 3, 2005
IOCC EMERGENCY RESPONSE NETWORK AIDING DISTRIBUTION OF RELIEF
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) A disaster response team deployed last Wednesday to
Baton Rouge, La. by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is
aiding in the efforts being mounted to assist survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
Fr. Peter Preble, a Romanian Orthodox priest and qualified emergency first
responder from Southbridge, Mass., and IOCC board member Lee Kapetanakis of
Houston, Texas are identifying the most urgent needs of the thousands of
people displaced by the storm and setting up a logistics and distribution
center for aid arriving to that city. The pair has also been joined by
Frank Carlin, an IOCC volunteer with more than 30 years of domestic and
international relief and development experience with Catholic Relief Services.
In a telephone report given Friday the team described a scene that is still
quite chaotic with insufficient aid available.
Grocery stores are trying to restock, but the population of Baton Rouge
has swelled so dramatically in the past few days that provisions are in
short supply, reported Kapetanakis. The biggest need right now is to help
people need basic needs water, hygiene items and diapers.
Over the next few days, the team will focus on providing essential care and
support items to people who are desperately in need of assistance.
IOCC staff in Baton Rouge are coordinating the pan-Orthodox effort in close
cooperation with Catholic Charities, the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, the Red Cross, Church World Service and local partners.
In Houston, Texas, IOCC is coordinating a pan-Orthodox effort to respond to
hurricane survivors arriving daily to that city. An operations center is
being established in Houston and is expected to become operational by the
end of the week.
Other members of the IOCC Emergency Response Network are also preparing for
deployment in the coming days.
In addition to the efforts being made to provide material aid, Orthodox
clergy participating in the IOCC Emergency Response Network are providing
pastoral assistance to the devastated communities. Clergy and parishes
throughout the Gulf Coast region have been contacted by IOCC.
On Sunday, less than a week after the hurricane, Fr. Peter Preble, one of
the few priests currently able to access the affected region, will
celebrate Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Chapel, 2510
Stevendale Road in Baton Rouge. Following Liturgy the IOCC team will be
working with the community to assess their needs.
The IOCC team has urged all Orthodox parishes to assemble and send personal
hygiene kits containing basic items such as soap, a washcloth, toothpaste
and a toothbrush, as part of IOCCs ongoing Gift of the Heart program run
in cooperation with Church World Service (CWS). The kits should be sent to
the CWS warehouse in New Windsor, Md. The address and required contents of
the kits may be found on IOCCs website at www.iocc.org/kits.
Contributions to IOCCs Hurricane Disaster Response Fund may be sent to
IOCC, Hurricane Relief, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, MD 21263-0225.
Donations may also be made online at www.iocc.org or by calling toll-free
IOCCs emergency response network, comprised of trained Orthodox clergy and
their U.S. parish communities, provides emergency services to people
struggling to recover from natural or man-made disasters.
Founded in 1992, IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the
Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).