From the Worldwide Faith News archives


From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 08 Aug 2003 20:20:24 -0700

The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
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For immediate release
August	7, 2003


Washington, D.C. (IOCC) -- A coalition of relief agencies, including
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), is calling for long-term
solutions to "break the grip" of poverty and recurring famine in Ethiopia -
the kind of solutions that IOCC is already beginning to implement.

The relief agencies held a press conference in Washington, D.C., on
Wednesday, Aug. 6, to draw attention to the continuing food crisis in
Ethiopia and the need for both immediate food aid and long-term
development. Among the eight participating organizations were the
Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services and Lutheran World Relief.

"The people of Ethiopia want to come together to respond to this crisis and
make a difference," said IOCC Executive Director Constantine M.
Triantafilou, who recently returned from Ethiopia. "They want to be known
for their rich history and culture, not for needing a handout."

Triantafilou visited Ethiopia in late July to strengthen IOCC's
relationship with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Church's
humanitarian arm, the Development and Inter-Church Commission (DICAC). He
also met with His Beatitude Patriarch Paulos and observed agriculture
projects run by another IOCC partner, the Jerusalem Community Development

"There is a live and vibrant Church and population in Ethiopia that wants
to help itself," Triantafilou said. "We'll continue to identify those
partnerships and work through them to respond to the crisis in Ethiopia.
It's a logical relationship."

An estimated 12.5 million Ethiopians are in immediate need of food aid, the
agencies said on Wednesday. Ethiopians also need more effective ways of
farming and meeting their long-term food needs. The lack of rainfall over
the past three years has led to severe drought conditions, as well as crop
and livestock losses, in Ethiopia.

In the coming weeks, IOCC senior staff will travel to Addis Ababa to
develop a long-term plan and assist DICAC with its response to the food
crisis. With new funding from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IOCC
and its Church partners will begin to implement small-scale agriculture
projects and a vocational training project for young people.

Among IOCC's primary partners in Ethiopia are Orthodox monasteries and the
Blue Nile Training & Outreach Center in Bahir Dar.

Ethiopian diplomat Dr. Brook Hailu, who attended Wednesday's news
conference, said IOCC's partnership with the Church is critical to
addressing Ethiopia's long-term food needs.

"The monasteries have lots of land around them, and they are engaged in
farming activities," Dr. Hailu said. "In that respect, IOCC can play a very
positive role in training these people, in showing them how to irrigate the
land, in giving them better seeds, in teaching them better farming
techniques. Such kinds of projects, initiated by IOCC, will be very

Dr. Hailu, deputy chief of mission for the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington,
said the Ethiopian government needs outside help to address the food
crisis. "We can't go on this way. We need long-term projects that will
bring substantive change," he said.

IOCC, the humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians, started
agriculture projects in Ethiopia in 2001. An estimated 30 million
Ethiopians - about 45 percent of the population - are members of the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

To learn more about IOCC's projects in Ethiopia and elsewhere around the
world, please visit or call toll-free 1-877-803-4622

For media inquiries, please contact IOCC Communications Associate Stephen
Huba at
1-877-803-4622 or


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