IOCC Expands Aid to Lebanon through OFDA Grant

$2.5 Million Project to Benefit Hardest-Hit Southern Villages

Baltimore, MD (August 30, 2006) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) announces a broad expansion of its ongoing relief work in Southern Lebanon through a newly-awarded $2 million grant from the U.S. Government’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). IOCC will provide water and sanitation installations, hygiene kits, psychosocial support, infrastructure rehabilitation, emergency relief supplies and cash for work activities in the hardest-hit southern villages of Marjeyoun, Hasbayya, and seven other villages surrounding the port city of Tyre.

“The overall purpose of this project is to assist returnees by providing a healthy and safe environment, with special emphasis on mothers and children,” says Matthew Parry, Interim Director of Operations for IOCC. “This intervention will positively impact these families’ lives by creating employment opportunities through construction activities, and will reduce tension, frustration and the prevalence of communicable diseases.”

The project will assist an estimated 2,500 vulnerable families including families of victims, people with disabilities, families caring for orphans and elderly people living alone. IOCC, which will provide an additional $525,000 in cash and in kind material contributions, making the total project value at $2.5 million, will repair 23 schools, water mains, village communal water tanks and water pumps, and install and replace chlorination units in 30 villages. The areas that IOCC selected were based on an assessment made by staff in consultation with grassroots leadership, church hierarchs, school directors, the Head of the Ministry of Education and the High Relief Council.

IOCC has been active in Lebanon since 2001 where it has been implementing a USDA-funded school feeding and education program in over 250 public schools throughout Lebanon. It was this development program that became the platform for IOCC’s emergency efforts when the crisis broke out in July. Since then, IOCC has delivered $100,000 in medicine and medical supplies to St. George Orthodox Hospital in Beirut and five other medical centers in the South, and provided food and hygiene parcels to over 5,000 displaced persons taking shelter in the Matn, Alay and Chouf areas, as well as to families who returned to the village of Marjeyoun shortly after the ceasefire.

IOCC was founded in 1992 as the official humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). Since then, it has implemented over $226 million in relief and development programs in 30 countries around the world.

To help in providing emergency relief, call IOCC’s donation hotline toll-free at 1-877-803-4622, make a gift on-line by clicking here, or mail a check or money order payable to “IOCC” and write “Lebanon Crisis 2006” in the memo line to: IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, Md. 21297-0429.