IOCC's Network Proves Effective for Lebanon Crisis
- INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES (IOCC)
110 West Road, Suite 360, Baltimore, Md. 21204
Tel: (410) 243-9820 - Fax: (410) 243-9824
Web: www.iocc.org - E-mail: news@...
For immediate release
August 4, 2006
IOCC'S NETWORK PROVES EFFECTIVE FOR LEBANON CRISIS
Beirut Staff Convert Development Program Resources Into Emergency Aid for
Hundreds of Displaced Families
Baltimore (IOCC) - Day 23 of the invasion of Lebanon finds one-fourth of the
country's population displaced from their homes of which an estimated
128,000 have taken shelter in public schools and institutions. IOCC is
continuing its relief efforts to displaced families, delivering food and
hygiene parcels to 892 families in the Maten and Alley areas, and reaching
the more dangerous regions of the Chouf during the 48-hour lull in fighting.
Many of these displaced families are staying in the public schools where
IOCC has been repairing infrastructure and conducting an education/feeding
program since 2001. On average there are 30-40 families per school, with
each family staying in a classroom. Staff is coordinating efforts with the
United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the U.S.
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Middle East Council of Churches,
and with the Orthodox Church in each village or area that IOCC distribution
of supplies is taking place.
"IOCC may not be one of the larger aid organizations on the ground in
Lebanon," says Interim Director of Operations Matthew Parry, "but it is
certainly one of the best positioned." Literally overnight, Beirut staff
converted the IOCC development program into an emergency relief effort using
trucks that normally distributed public school meals to reach distressed
families. Staff was also able to use their network of food suppliers to
procure food and hygiene items, a task that was very difficult in view of
the security situation.
IOCC began its relief efforts in the Maten and Alley areas of Mount Lebanon,
providing one food and one hygiene parcel per family. Church World Service
has also pledged 5,000 hygiene kits, 500 collapsible water containers and
hundreds of wool blankets. Each parcel contains supplies that last for one
month. Food parcels contain milk powder, vegetable oil, canned fish, hummus,
beans, pasta, rice, corn, jam, tea and sugar. Hygiene parcels contain
toothbrushes, tooth paste, soap, tissue paper, toilet paper, shampoo,
antiseptic cleaner, laundry soap and sanitary pads.
"I think IOCC is distinctive in its approach because in addition to
providing basic food and hygiene supplies, we are also providing educational
materials about ways to relieve stress and the importance of food and
personal hygiene," says IOCC Beirut Program Coordinator Linda Shaker
Berbari. "This will help families cope better with their environment and
prevent problems that might arise due to poor hygienic practices."
IOCC has been active in the Middle East since 1997, when it first
implemented humanitarian programs in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. With funding
from the Greek Government, IOCC is currently implementing an emergency
response program in Gaza and recently completed a civil society program for
rural Palestinians. IOCC also has various relief and development activities
in Iraq and Jordan and has undertaken programs in Lebanon since 2001.
Current programs in Lebanon include a USDA-funded Food for Education
To help in providing emergency relief, call IOCC's donation hotline
1-877-803-4622, make a gift on-line at www.iocc.org, or mail a check or
money order payable to "IOCC" and write "Lebanon Crisis 2006" in the memo
line to: IOCC, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225.
Media calls: Contact Amal Morcos at 410-243-9820 or (cell) 404-805-4142.
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