IOCC Responding to Humanitarian Crisis in Kosovo, Calls for End to the Violence

Baltimore, MD (March 22, 2004) — Building on years of humanitarian assistance in Kosovo, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is responding to the needs of refugees and people displaced by the recent ethnic violence in Kosovo.

The humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians, IOCC has been actively assessing the needs in the troubled province and consulting with local authorities and Church officials to determine an appropriate emergency response. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Red Cross, the Kosovo Coordinating Committee and others are being consulted on short-term needs.

IOCC is deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of those displaced, especially children. Working with local partners, IOCC expects to focus on vulnerable communities that have an immediate need for food, shelter and medical care.

IOCC has been active in Kosovo since 1993. During the NATO bombing campaign of 1999, IOCC was one of only three relief organizations to maintain an operational presence in the region, providing continuous humanitarian assistance to refugees and displaced persons in Serbia and Montenegro.

IOCC also has done small-scale projects in Kosovo through its office in Podgorica, Montenegro, and in partnership with the Visoki Decani Monastery and His Grace Bishop Artemije of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren (Kosovo).

Through its office in Belgrade, Serbia, IOCC supports a number of local initiatives designed to help displaced persons from Kosovo. IOCC provides legal assistance, up-to-date information and vocational training to displaced people, many of whom have spent years away from their homes. IOCC encourages all people to pray for peace in the region and for an end to the violence there.