Conflict in Gaza Kills Hundreds: Help IOCC Speed Relief to Families Caught in Attacks

Men and women run for cover in central Gaza City during aerial attacks. IOCC is coordinating shipments of desperately needed medicines and supplies for Gaza hospitals that are stretched to capacity. (Photo credit: Mohammed Saber/epa/Corbis)

Baltimore, MD (December 31, 2008) — The deadliest conflict in Gaza in four decades has killed hundreds and wounded thousands. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has released emergency funds and is working in cooperation with other humanitarian aid organizations to deliver medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to Gaza hospitals that are stretched to capacity. “Gaza was already in a desperate situation before this increased conflict with a significant lack of food, medicine, fuel and electricity. All commodities are in scarce supply,” said Dirk Lackovic-van Gorp, IOCC’s Representative for Jerusalem/West Bank.

Although it remains difficult to get supplies into Gaza, IOCC is working with organizations that have significant operations inside the territory and who are in touch with government officials and United Nations personnel to gain access. Lackovic-van Gorp reports that the greatest need now is life-saving drugs and medical supplies to equip hospitals which have been forced to turn away the injured.

Before this latest conflict, IOCC had announced a new initiative for Gaza including food and hygiene supplies and repairs to youth centers through an Action by Churches Together (ACT) appeal. IOCC is currently working in cooperation with ACT members to respond to this emergency. IOCC has implemented a variety of educational and school repair programs in the Palestinian Territories since 1997 when it opened its first office in Jerusalem.

Help IOCC speed relief to families who have been caught in this conflict. Visit, 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 17398, Baltimore, Md. 21297-0429.

And during this time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, please join us in praying that His peace may reign in the Holy Land and throughout the world.

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 $275 million in relief and development programs in 33 countries around the world.