Update on Ongoing Hurricane Response

November 2, 2017

IOCC is collaborating with local Orthodox churches and both local and national partner organizations to address immediate needs and fill gaps in service. In Puerto Rico, like many responding after Maria, IOCC initially faced difficulty directly contacting anyone on the island due to the extensive damage. Now in conversation with the two Orthodox jurisdictions there, IOCC is exploring responding in partnership with organizations that have established a presence in Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Harvey

IOCC has established a family-assistance program to help both Orthodox and non-Orthodox families through local Orthodox parishes. Applications have been received, and distributions of funds will begin this week through area parishes.

In the larger community, the IOCC Emergency Response Van, staff, Orthodox Action Team leaders, and volunteers remain on the ground, where over 40 homes have been cleared of damaged items and debris (“mucked out”) since 9/4. In all, 105 IOCC volunteers have worked in Texas; IOCC volunteers continue to rotate in service. Assessments and muck outs are ongoing. To volunteer, fill out this form.

IOCC has worked with ecumenical partners to deliver items worth over $200,000 to the area, including clean-up buckets, hygiene kits, dental supplies, mattresses, and bedding. More commodities will be delivered in the coming weeks.

IOCC Frontliners were the first group to offer emotional and spiritual care at the George R. Brown Convention Center shelter in downtown Houston. As the situation changed, efforts shifted to include response in Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Galveston. In all, 20 Frontliners have served in the Houston area.

Hurricane Irma

IOCC staff remains on the ground in Florida. IOCC conducted needs assessments in and around Naples, Miami, Jacksonville, and the Keys, and contacted all the Orthodox parishes statewide as part of that process. Frontliners and Orthodox Action Team Leaders deployed beginning on 9/16. Six Frontliners have provided emotional and spiritual care in both the Naples and Flagler Beach areas.

Frontliners and Orthodox Action Team Leaders deployed beginning on 9/16. Since then, 10 Frontliners have provided emotional and spiritual care in both the Naples and Flagler Beach areas.

On Sunday 9/17, IOCC distributed $6,500 in food and water supplies after liturgy at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Naples, serving about 100 people, in addition to providing heavy-duty tarps to help protect against further weather damage, six generators to help with basic refrigeration and air-conditioning needs, and 250 clean-up bucketsin Naples.

Teams of IOCC volunteers (22 in all) have completed 40 home repairs in Flagler County, Naples, and Sarasota, in cooperation with NECHAMA teams. IOCC staff is training new emergency response team leaders to spearhead volunteer teams on the ground. A second IOCC Emergency Response Van deployed to Florida and remains there, supporting ongoing clean-up efforts.

Hurricane Maria

IOCC has contacted the two jurisdictions present in Puerto Rico, the Greek Orthodox Church under the Metropolis of Mexico and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) to begin assessing needs and the most effective response. IOCC is also in contact with its ecumenical partners on the ground in Puerto Rico to see how we might support their efforts.

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