IOCC Shifts Aid to Lebanon’s South

Lebanon Staff Delivering Aid to Villages Now under UN and Lebanese Army Control

Baltimore, MD (August 18, 2006) — Lebanon’s humanitarian crisis continues as the U.N. estimates that a quarter of a million displaced individuals, who fled days of heavy bombing, have already returned to their villages in the South. IOCC Lebanon has sent food and hygiene parcels and canned milk and diapers to families in the village of Marjeyoun, south of the Litani River, where UNIFIL and Lebanese Army soldiers have begun to take over. Staff is coordinating closely with the Orthodox Bishop of Marjeyoun to help returning residents. Needs are also being assessed in nearby villages where Israel’s Defense Forces continue to have a presence.

Lebanon will also be receiving urgent medical assistance from IOCC. Two health kits worth approximately $100,000 in medical supplies have arrived in Damascus, Syria where they will be trucked to Lebanon. St. George Orthodox Hospital in Beirut will receive one of the kits containing 24 boxes of medicines, IV fluids and disposable supplies assembled in accordance with emergency aid standards set by the World Health Organization. The second kit, with the same contents, will be divided between five hospitals, four of which are located in Beirut’s hard-hit Shiite suburbs, and one in Sidon. The kits, which were donated by Northwest Medical Teams, are expected to aid a total of 20,000 patients over a 3 month period.

IOCC has just completed providing aid to 892 displaced families — about 5,000 individuals— who had taken refuge in the public schools of the mountainous villages surrounding Beirut. Food and hygiene parcels sustained families for one month until the ceasefire went into affect on Monday. Almost all of those families have returned to their villages in the South.

Lebanon IOCC staff is coordinating efforts with the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Middle East Council of Churches, and with the Orthodox Church in each village or area that IOCC distribution of supplies is taking place.

IOCC has been active in Lebanon since 2001 where it has been implementing a USDA-funded nutrition and infrastructure repair 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.

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.