ATHENS – The fifth container containing medical material supplied through the efforts of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and the Archdiocese of Athens’ Apostoli-Mission organization was arrived in Piraeus last week. The vital shipment which will relieve shortages in Greek hospitals was financed by the Jaharis Foundation.
Despina Katsivelaki, IOCC’s coordinator in Greece invited TNH to be present at the arrival of the 40 foot-long container at the “Laiko” hospital shortly before 8AM. Also present were two officials from IOCC’s Baltimore headquarters, Tamara D. Segall, IOCC’s Chief Financial Officer, and Biliana Mihailovitch.
Representatives of several organizations and government agencies, including the Ministry of Health were present and thanked IOCC.
The packages of supplies, which are bar-coded and tracked, will also be sent to the Ippokrateio, Aglaia Kyriakou and Attikon facilities.
It took two hours for the large freight truck to be emptied of material valued at $811,000. The five container shipments have carried a total of $4 million worth of hundreds of kinds of items.
Ioanna Bourazopoulou, a Greek official, told TNH that “the immediate serious everyday needs are a sign of the times we are living in. We try to meet these needs, but the assistance we received today is very important, not only for practical but for psychological reasons. This support and solidarity strengthens us and makes the world more beautiful,” for the suffering people of Greece.
She will further inform IOCC about urgent needs, especially syringes and gloves, which are needed daily in large volumes.
It was emphasized to TNH that beyond its initial $1.2 million donation, the Jaharis Foundation matches the donations of others to IOCC’s efforts in Greece.
The funds have been used to provide 35 institutions with heating oil in northern Greece, and to provide general assistance to 32 others, including old age homes and orphanages. Food aid is also given to 1072 very poor families in the Athens area.
By making the purchases from Greek supplies, the money also supports the local economy.
The two IOCC representatives from the United States, who made their first trips to Greece to see the results of the organization’s efforts, told TNH they are completely satisfied with the work that is being done. They also travelled to Kozani, Kavalla and Thessaloniki, but they were most concerned to see conditions in Central and Western Macedonia.
Segall said she was most impressed with the way the people they visited, despite their own hardships, assisted their neighbors as much as they could. She also noted that the employees of humanitarian organizations continued to work to assist the people even when they themselves have not been paid in a long time.
Since 2011, IOCC, working with Apostoli-Mission, has sent to Greece $10 million worth of medical aid, heating assistance, food and funds for employment programs. $8.5 million has been devoted to medical assistance to the hospitals of Athens, Thessaloniki, Northern Greece, Peloponnesos, Crete, and the Ionian Islands.
Each month 60,000 kilograms of dry food is distributed in monthly rations to needy families.
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