05:01:2008 - 23:01 EET
Jan 04 2008
IOCC assistance
Γράφει ο/η Θεόφιλος Δουμάνης   
The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) announced an expansion of its ongoing work to provide relief to Peloponnese farmers whose homes and grazing lands were devastated by the August wildfires. Through donations received from supporters and a recent gift from IOCC Founder John G. Rangos a total of $200,000 will go towards the procurement and distribution of 250 metric tons of animal feed. Approximately 800 small and subsistence farmers in the provinces of Ileia and Arcadia will receive multiple distributions of the feed.

IOCC’s aid to farmers began in Ileia on September 8 with the delivery of 170 metric tons of animal feed for farmers with small animals (goats, sheep) and large livestock (donkeys, horses, cattle). Of this amount, 28 metric tons of feed were delivered directly to farmers in isolated mountain villages who were unable to reach distribution centers. IOCC staff found these small and subsistence farmers with the help of local Orthodox priests.

The wildfires killed 65 people and destroyed nearly 500,000 acres in forest lands and 4.6 million olive trees. IOCC has focused on providing animal feed because the fires also decimated pastures and grazing land and current assessments indicate this will be a long term problem for farmers.

The special committee overseeing the Greek Fire Relief Fund of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America unanimously approved a $252,853 grant to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to further its current work of aiding Greek farmers who were severely affected by the wildfires that began on August 24.

This new grant from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese will allow IOCC to continue and expand this work to small-scale farmers in Ileia and to the neighboring prefecture of Arcadia. “At this time of intense suffering for our brothers and sisters in Greece, our new partnership with IOCC will sustain the livelihoods of thousands of Peloponnese farmers,” said His Eminence, DEMETRIOS, Archbishop and Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

IOCC recently completed the distribution of nearly 20 metric tons of foraging seed to more than 300 farmers in the wildfire-devastated region of the Peloponnese. More than 37,000 head of livestock will benefit from the forage seed designed specifically for animals living in hot dry climates. The grass will be ready to be eaten by spring 2008 and will not have to be replanted for at least the next four years. This will prevent soil erosion, one of the chief problems for the Peloponnese in the wake of last summer’s wildfires.

IOCC’s Phase I program involved the distribution of emergency supplies of animal feed to hundreds of farmers in the villages of the prefecture of Ileia. IOCC was able to expand this program to farmers in neighboring Arcadia with a new grant in early November from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. IOCC’s total relief and recovery program for Greece has exceeded $500,000 from donors representing various Orthodox jurisdictions from throughout the United States.

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