News & Information – April 2010
Tamara gave birth to a baby girl after being rescued from the rubble of her destroyed apartment building in Port-au-Prince. Pictured with her is the nurse who attended her labor, Anne Blaufus with Medical Teams International (MTI), one of IOCC's key partners in Haiti. IOCC and MTI worked in cooperation to deliver $2.2 million in critically-needed medicines and hospital equipment to Haiti. (photo credit: MTI)
Water has become the most precious commodity in Haiti today. IOCC has provided water purification and sanitation equipment to the people of Haiti as part of its $3 million response to the January 12 earthquake. (photo credit: Magnus Aronson/ACT)
A man uses strips of cloth to fasten together a temporary shelter for his family in a spontaneous camp for quake survivors being established in Croix-des-Bouguets, Haiti, north of the capital Port-au-Prince. IOCC has provided tents and shelter materials to the people of Haiti as part of its $3 million response to the January 12 earthquake. (Photo credit: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance)
Twenty-nine-year old Tamara was nearly ready to give birth when her world in Port-au-Prince suddenly collapsed around her. After being trapped in her apartment building for 10 hours, she was finally rescue by her husband, Peterson, who had to tell her that their four-year-old son had died in the collapsed building. She was taken to King's Hospital and wheeled out to an open-air triage area where she gave birth to a baby girl. The nurses gathered around Tamara to hold the little baby before they had to return to the world of operations and amputations.

The January 12 earthquake in Haiti killed 222,570 people, injured 300,000, and left more than 1.3 million displaced. From the first days of this monumental disaster IOCC has been in touch with Orthodox churches in Haiti as well as our ecumenical partners through the ACT Alliance.

Since then IOCC has delivered more than $3 million in humanitarian aid to Haiti including the delivery of water purification and sanitation equipment, wheelchairs and crutches, tents and shelter materials, hygiene kits, fuel, food, blankets and mattresses – including crucial deliveries of more than $2.2 million of medicines and hospital supplies that will benefit more than 45,000 patients.

But this hasn't been the work of IOCC alone. You have been with us in Haiti from the first moments of this crisis with supporters calling IOCC to ask what they could do to help.

I want to thank the many Orthodox volunteers from across the U.S. who put together literally thousands of hygiene kits. In a disaster like Haiti where disease becomes the second killer, these kits are the basic tools needed for health and cleanliness and maintaining sanitary conditions to ward off illness.

Thank you also for your generous financial gifts – about $1 million for Haiti alone. We are committed to doing everything we can to explore other opportunities to help the Haitian people begin the hard work of rebuilding their nation so that Tamara's baby, born in adversity, can still look forward to a brighter future.

In Christ,

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director and CEO

Jobs and Farming for Palestinian Families in Gaza and the West Bank
The Gaza Strip, beleaguered from last year's conflict and unable to provide regular water, electricity and materials to rebuild, will receive a boost from IOCC through a new program that will provide cash for work opportunities to thousands of unemployed Gazans. Through a $2 million program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), IOCC will employ Gazans to dig agricultural water systems, recover farmland, clean-up rubble, and provide psychological counseling for children. IOCC is also launching a new project for the West Bank, funded by Finn Church Aid, which will provide supplies and train families to develop home gardens so that they can provide up to 30% of their own food needs.

Ethiopia: Preventing Mother to Child Transmission of HIV
IOCC has launched a new project in Ethiopia that is addressing the transmission of HIV between mothers and their children. IOCC received a $650,000 grant from IntraHealth through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). IOCC's program is in partnership with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC). It is estimated that there are over 2 million children living with HIV, almost 90 percent of whom are in Africa. The vast majority of these children acquire HIV during pregnancy, delivery or when they are being breastfed.

Above, Costa Panos (second from left) with Volunteers in Atlanta.
VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH
Costa Panos, Atlanta, GA
For the past decade, Costa Panos has been working diligently to promote IOCC's humanitarian work throughout his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Not only does Costa volunteer at the local pan-Orthodox "Loaves & Fishes" program, which feeds the poor and hungry of Atlanta with initial support from IOCC, but he has also been the chairperson of the IOCC Atlanta Metropolitan Committee since 2000. The Committee hosts a 5k walk/run annually, an event that has continued to unite Orthodox Christians in the Atlanta Metropolitan area and has raised over $250,000 since it was launched ten years ago. "I enjoy being part of IOCC because it is truly one of the best pan-Orthodox organizations in motivating and inspiring Orthodox Christians to join together to help those who are in need," said Costa. "Also, IOCC can be an excellent vehicle to bring non-Orthodox Christians into the church as they witness IOCC's humanitarian relief efforts throughout the world."

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