IOCC Responding to Victims of Iraqi Church Bombings

An Iraqi girl receives food and hygiene kits at a recent distribution of aid by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in Baghdad. Through IOCC’s distribution network, which includes churches that were recently bombed, hundreds of low-income Iraqi families receive life-sustaining assistance. Photo courtesy of IOCC

Baghdad, Iraq (August 5, 2004) — The broken stained glass has been swept up, the structural damage is being repaired, but the Christian community of Iraq will take a long time to recover from the August 1 car bomb attacks.

Iraqi Christians, a minority in this predominantly Muslim country, have been left reeling from the large-scale violence against their communities in Baghdad and Mosul. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), a humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians, is working to meet the immediate needs of those most affected by the attacks.

Several of the damaged churches in Baghdad are part of a local ecumenical network of IOCC partners that has been active in distributing food and hygiene kits to Iraqis in need over the past year. Since the bombings, IOCC staff, led by Dr. Saad Gedeon, have visited the churches and interviewed their priests and bishops.

“We are assessing the needs of the families of those killed or injured by these senseless acts of brutality, and IOCC will be providing assistance to them as we are able,” said Dr. Gedeon, program coordinator for IOCC Iraq. “Christians around the world must stand with those who have fallen victim to this brutal violence, letting them know that we are with them not only in thought and prayer, but also in deed, in the days and weeks to come as they work to rebuild.”

Despite the violence and unrest, IOCC continues its work in Iraq. Through IOCC’s distribution network, hundreds of low-income Iraqi families receive food and other necessities. Victims of the recent attacks will receive food parcels, hygiene kits and other forms of assistance, depending on their needs.

IOCC is one of four implementing partners for the relief alliance Action by Churches Together (ACT) in Iraq and is working in partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Beginning operations in Iraq in April 2003, IOCC has been distributing food, hygiene and first-aid parcels through the Middle East Council of Churches and its network of churches and mosques.

IOCC is the humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). All of its assistance is delivered solely on the basis of need.

Donations may be sent to IOCC, “Middle East Crisis,” P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225. Donations may also be made online by clicking here or by calling toll-free 1-877-803-4622.

IOCC has worked in the Middle East since 1997 and, in addition to Iraq, has programs in the Holy Land, Syria and Lebanon. To learn more about IOCC’s humanitarian and self-help programs around the world, please visit www.iocc.org.

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