IOCC Joins Aid Convoys to Jenin, Bethlehem

Jerusalem/West Bank (April 18, 2002) — As part of its ongoing emergency response to the crisis in the West Bank, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) participated in two recent humanitarian convoys that brought much-needed aid to victims of the violence.

On Monday, personnel from IOCC’s Jerusalem office took part in a convoy that delivered food supplies to Bethlehem and the neighboring Christian village of Beit Jala. With funding from the Greek government and support from local partners, IOCC prepared and delivered family food parcels. Monday’s convoy, comprising 25 vehicles and several Christian aid agencies, was the first humanitarian effort to reach Bethlehem in two weeks, according to news reports.

On Saturday, IOCC participated in a convoy to Jenin that delivered medicine, medical supplies, food, milk, mattresses, blankets and water, said Nora Kort, head of IOCC’s office in Jerusalem.

“It was a good show of solidarity,” Ms. Kort said of the convoy. “The people in Jenin were under curfew, and our presence helped those close to the warehouses to get out of their houses.”

Ms. Kort, in an ongoing effort to assess the needs of the region, talked to people who fled their homes and took shelter at the Jenin Charitable Society.

Ms. Kort said IOCC expects to participate in future convoys and will continue giving assistance to needy families through its local partners. IOCC, the official humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians, has committed $30,000 in emergency funds to the West Bank relief effort, in addition to $100,000 from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. IOCC also is coordinating its response with the Greek Consulate in Jerusalem and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Founded in 1992, IOCC opened an office in Jerusalem in 1997. To contribute to IOCC’s relief and development work in the West Bank, make checks payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225