IOCC Responds To Critical Needs
Of Families In Gaza, Urges Support

August 1, 2014

Two displaced Palestinian women find refuge in the courtyard of St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza City. The church is sheltering more than 700 displaced people, nearly half of them children, and providing assistance to an additional 1,400 displaced persons being sheltered in a nearby mosque and warehouses. IOCC is responding to the urgent needs of Gaza's displaced families with the emergency distribution of food, water, blankets, bedding and infant supplies. photo: UNICEF
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — The scramble for safety by thousands of Gaza's families grows more difficult each day as a new wave of violence is destroying homes, businesses, even schools where children and their parents have sought shelter. After seven years of a blockade that has rendered most of the Gaza Strip's 1.8 million people dependent on humanitarian aid, the recent escalation of the conflict is adding to the toll of human suffering. The destruction of vital civilian infrastructure is depriving vulnerable Gazans of proper sanitation, clean water, safe housing and medical care and adding to the humanitarian crisis for families who are unable to leave the Gaza Strip.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is appealing for support to provide aid to families in urgent need of basic food and humanitarian supplies in the Gaza Strip. Already more than 240,000 people have been displaced inside Gaza, seeking shelter at schools, churches, mosques and other facilities.

The search for a safe haven has brought more than 700 displaced Palestinian people, mostly women and children, to St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Christian Church in the Al Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. The families, many of whom only had minutes to flee, now occupy every available space in the church courtyard and community center building.

IOCC staff are on the ground in Gaza, responding to the urgent needs of these displaced families and thousands of other victims of the conflict with the distribution of emergency relief items. Basic necessities such as food, water, bedding, blankets, hygiene items and infant supplies are being provided to 12,000 displaced people seeking refuge at the church and a nearby mosque, as well as those in the northern Gaza communities of Gaza City, Beit Hanoun, Shuj'iyeh, Al Zeitoun, and At Tuffah.

IOCC has had a humanitarian presence in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza since 1997, assisting more than 30,000 families with emergency food and household items as well as working with communities to improve their access to food, employment opportunities, and agricultural production. IOCC has been working with communities in the Gaza Strip to improve access to food, employment opportunities, and agricultural production. By creating reliable water sources and support for gardens, IOCC has helped ensure that families have enough to eat and helped the local economy by supporting locally-produced fresh food.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can help provide relief in Gaza by making a financial gift to the IOCC Gaza Relief Fund, which will provide immediate relief through the provision of emergency assistance as well as longer-term support. To make a gift, please visit www.iocc.org or call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, MD 21297.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES
IOCC is the official humanitarian relief agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered $488 million in emergency assistance and development programs to families and communities in more than 50 countries. IOCC is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 140 churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy, and a member of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.–based secular and faith-based organizations working to improve the lives of the world's most poor and vulnerable populations. To learn more about IOCC, visit www.iocc.org.

Media contact: Rada K. Tierney, IOCC Media Relations, 443-823-3489, rtierney@iocc.org

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