Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — The past year has been a struggle for the villagers living in and around Vitanovac, Serbia, the epicenter of a jarring 5.4 earthquake last November that left two people dead and tens of thousands of people homeless. With winter coming and the need for assistance still critical, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) through ongoing support from the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand, is delivering much needed relief to families still laboring to rebuild their homes and replace belongings destroyed in the earthquake.
IOCC latest efforts include a shipment of bed linens, baby kits and quilts to vulnerable rural families living around Vitanovac, a village just a few miles away from the city of Kraljevo. The distributions are being done in cooperation with the Red Cross of Serbia. Through a generous gift from the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand, IOCC also provided wood burning stoves and firewood for 150 families last spring as well as hygiene kits and personal care products for the elderly.
Bishop Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate Australia and New Zealand believes that directing aid to these rural families affected by the earthquake is especially critical due to the fact that the villages in the area are highly populated by refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, as well as people who have been displaced from Kosovo.
"These people have already experienced the loss of their belongings and houses, some even several times, and are already extremely vulnerable and unable to reconstruct their households without assistance," says Bishop Irinej. "We pray that through IOCC, our efforts will bring some comfort to families as they continue to recover from this upheaval."
The greatest destruction from the 2010 earthquake was recorded around Kraljevo where it caused serious damage to houses, the power supply, water and sanitation facilities, roads and critical public buildings such as hospitals and schools. The initial earthquake was followed by almost 100 aftershocks that destabilized already vulnerable buildings even further, and destroyed homes beyond repair.
About International Orthodox Christian Charities
IOCC, founded in 1992 as the official humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), has implemented relief and development programs in more than 40 countries around the world.
How You Can Help
You can help the victims of disasters around the world, like those in Serbia, by making a financial gift to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. To make a gift, please visit www.iocc.org, 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. 21297-0429.
Media contact: Rada K. Tierney, IOCC Media Relations, 443-823-3489, firstname.lastname@example.org