Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — The conflict that rages on in Syria has severely crippled the country's power plants as well as damaged major roads needed to transport heating fuel during the coldest time of year, while violence, sanctions and instability in the region have led to critical fuel shortages. As thousands of displaced families and elderly throughout Syria struggle to stay warm on nights that dip below freezing, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)  is responding with winter relief to more than 30,000 Syrian families.
Through your generous support and support from the ACT Alliance, IOCC in partnership with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA) distributed diesel stoves and electric heaters to several areas in Syria. Families living in areas with access to fuel but no power received diesel stoves, while families facing fuel shortages but still have electricity received electric heaters.During the next four months, IOCC/GOPA will also be distributing winter clothing kits to internally displaced children and parents who were forced to flee their homes with no personal belongings. The kits will provide a warm winter coat, wool scarf and gloves, as well as pajamas, socks and undergarments. Delivering emergency relief items to Syrian families in need continues to be a challenge as violence spreads, says IOCC Director of Programs Mark Ohanian. "The deteriorating security climate in Syria creates delays in receiving and distributing humanitarian relief items," said Ohanian. "An added challenge is finding adequate quantities and quality of supplies needed, but IOCC and GOPA are using their longstanding local and regional relationships to ensure uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid."
More than two million Syrians have been internally displaced or driven from their country in search of safety and shelter. Inside Syria, IOCC is one of only a handful of humanitarian agencies reaching people in need that UN agencies and others are unable to access. IOCC is also responding to the urgent humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees now living in Jordan and in Lebanon.