Humanitarian Need Deepens as Conflict in the Caucasus Affects Thousands

IOCC Mobilizes Tbilisi and Moscow Staff to Assist Victims

Baltimore, MD (August 11, 2008) — In the fourth day of fighting between Russian and Georgian forces, thousands have been displaced from their homes in Georgia and in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. The United Nations is reporting that tens of thousands of people have fled South Ossetia, and that the western town of Gori, which has come under heavy artillery fire from Russian forces, is now nearly deserted.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has mobilized staff in its Tbilisi and Moscow offices to provide assistance to those who have been affected by this widening conflict. IOCC is working in partnership with the Georgian Orthodox Church to provide food and hygiene supplies to IDPs (internally displaced persons) in the town of Gori and in the capital of Tbilisi. IOCC is also assisting refugees in North Ossetia with medical and food supplies provided in partnership with the Russian Orthodox Church.

“The numbers of those displaced by this conflict will increase every day,” says IOCC Regional Director George Antoun. “Their needs are basic and pressing: food, water, shelter, blankets and medical care,” he continued. IOCC has released funds to assist those who have been affected and is issuing an emergency appeal for additional support.

IOCC’s first humanitarian mission was to Russia in 1992. IOCC began providing emergency humanitarian relief to Georgia in 1994 when more than a quarter of a million people were displaced due to separatist fighting.

To help in providing emergency relief, call IOCC’s donation hotline toll-free at 1-877-803-4622, make a gift on-line at, or mail a check or money order payable to “IOCC” and write “Conflict in the Caucasus” in the memo line to: IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, Md. 21297-0429.

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.