|Volume 10, No. 3||WINTER 2007|
Relief for Greece: IOCC’s Emergency Program Provides Assistance to Farmers
Peloponnese, Greece As the wildfires that consumed Greece continued last September, IOCC sent a disaster assessment team that included Executive Director and CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou to plan for IOCC’s relief and recovery program. After consulting with local government officials, Greek Orthodox Metropolitans, and villagers who had experienced the devastation, IOCC determined that Greece’s most pressing need was for farmers to be able to feed their animals. The wildfires had consumed nearly 500,000 acres of forest and pasture lands, and small and subsistence farmers had no way to sustain their flocks for some, their only source of income. On September 8, IOCC began delivering 170 metric tons of animal feed to farmers in the prefecture of Ileia.
A gift from IOCC founder John G. Rangos and a $252,853 grant from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will further expand IOCC’s work to farmers in Arcadia and Ileia prefectures. (photos by Sophia Clark/IOCC)
“I ran down to open the stables to free my animals. Some made it, some did not,” says Diamando from atop her mule, referring to the fires that in addition to killing her animals, destroyed her home, her vineyard, 350 olive trees and some pine trees. “Thank you,” she says, referring to IOCC’s donation of animal feed. “It is our greatest need right now.”
IOCC Executive Director and CEO, Constantine M. Triantafilou and IOCC Greece Head of Office Despina Katsivelaki met with villagers in Ileia to plan for IOCC’s intervention for Greece in the aftermath of the wildfires.
A survivor of the wildfires that devastated his village of Andritsina, 72-year-old Sophianos was so grateful for a donation of animal feed that he tried to offer one of his sheep to the IOCC worker who was helping him load his pick-up truck. The four 88-pound bags of feed Sophianos received fed his flock for 10 days.
Forced to decide between saving his ancestral home and the house he was constructing for himself and his three adult children, Kosta and his wife poured water on themselves while spraying the perimeter of their home. The old family home is gone and in its ashes their horse and five goats are being fed by IOCC’s emergency supply of animal feed.
A little oregano to sell was all that Barba Yanni had after the wildfires burned half of his flock and all of his fields. The shepherd and church chanter set off from his village of Milies to ancient Olympia to sell the oregano. On his way, Barba Yanni met IOCC workers who needed directions to Lala for their next distribution of animal feed. The next thing he knew he was loading his pick-up truck with enough animal feed for the next five days.
When IOCC workers saw Stathia on her hands and knees in the rain picking up the corn kernels that had leaked from the bags being distributed to the shepherds of Andritsina, they asked her how many animals she had to feed. The widow informed them that she had only two goats. IOCC with local authorities have helped people like Stathia with less than the minimum livestock required for government assistance.
The wildfires blackened 360 degrees of the panoramic surroundings of their home which borders Ileia and Arcadia. Only 15-20 sheep survived from Eleftheria and Dimitri’s original flock of 80. “Now they are just for milk for our grandchildren,” says Dimitri. “We thank God for our lives and for any help we can get until we get a little rain and we see a little green again,” he says.