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GOAA = IOCC HELPING IRAQI CHILDREN, DISPLACED PERSONS
Worldwide Faith News <email@example.com>
Mon, 18 Aug 2003 15:17:01 -0700
GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA
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The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10021
INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES (IOCC)
110 West Road, Suite 360, Baltimore, Md. 21204
Tel: (410) 243-9820 -- Fax: (410) 243-9824
Web: www.iocc.org -- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Immediate Release
August 15, 2003
IOCC HELPING IRAQI CHILDREN, DISPLACED PERSONS
Baghdad (IOCC) -- From displaced people in the northern city of Mosul to
school children in Baghdad, International Orthodox Christian Charities
(IOCC) is bringing new hope and help in post-war Iraq.
IOCC senior staff recently spent a week in Baghdad opening an office and
hiring personnel. They also spent time in Mosul, a city of 1.7 million
people, where some 50,000 to 70,000 internally-displaced Kurds are in need
of the barest necessities.
The Kurds of Mosul were forced from their homes under the previous regime.
Now that they have returned, they have no place to live. IOCC Chief
Operating Officer David Holdridge and Regional Director George Antoun found
one group of 20 families living in an abandoned building.
"They're squatting in an old Iraqi Army barracks," Holdridge said. "Their
situation is precarious. Their homes were taken, and they have no place
else to go." IOCC, working through local Orthodox Church partners, hopes to
provide the families with cooking utensils, food parcels, bedding and other
necessities in the coming weeks and months.
"Church leaders that we met expressed their gratitude and appreciation to
IOCC for coming to Iraq to help during this difficult and critical period
in their country's history," Antoun said. "They are eager to join IOCC in
providing help to those who are in most need."
In Baghdad, IOCC, in addition to distributing emergency relief supplies to
vulnerable families, is identifying schools in poor neighborhoods that need
repair. Iraqi children return to school on Sept. 10, but in many cases, the
learning environment is poor.
"This emerged as a clear need while we were there," Holdridge said.
"Because of the looting and some collateral damage from the war, there are
a lot of public buildings and institutions that need repair. We can be of
assistance in that area."
IOCC, supported by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the relief
alliance Action by Churches Together, hopes to fix broken classroom
windows, provide new classroom furniture, and repair damaged electrical and
plumbing systems in schools.
"We're trying to move Iraq toward a situation of normalcy, where the
children of Iraqis go off to school in the morning without worry,"
More than 400 schools in and around Baghdad are in need of repair, he said.
IOCC will concentrate on schools in poor neighborhoods.
IOCC's parent organization, the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox
Bishops in the Americas, is encouraging all Orthodox Christians to support
IOCC's efforts in Iraq through prayer and giving.
IOCC has worked in the Middle East since 1997 and, in addition to Iraq, has
programs in the Holy Land and Lebanon. To learn more about IOCC's
humanitarian and self-help programs around the world, please visit
www.iocc.org or call toll-free 1-877-803-4622.
For media inquiries, please contact IOCC Communications Associate Stephen
Huba at 1-877-803-4622 or email@example.com.
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