IOCC/Harvey Update


South Texas and Louisiana are recovering after estimates of 50 inches of rainfall, causing loss of life, extensive property damage, and hardship for the residents of the US’ fourth-largest city. Fatalities are estimated to be over 20 people, with thousands more displaced. "The breadth and intensity of this rainfall are beyond anything experienced before," the weather service said.

IOCC Involvement:

IOCC, the official humanitarian agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, is closely monitoring the next phase of the storm and staff members remain in contact with local Orthodox churches, as well as members of national and local VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and ecumenical partners such as Church World Service, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, NECHAMA, etc. to support and provide relief as needed.

IOCC US Program Response:

  • IOCC was in touch with the Red Cross pre-storm and they asked specifically for our Frontliners, highly trained clergy and laity, to be in place to provide emotional and spiritual care to those affected by the storm
  • Eleven Frontliners are now on the ground providing emotional and spiritual care in Red Cross shelters and other venues in the Houston area
  • This Frontliner team was the first group providing emotional and spiritual care in the “mega-shelter” at the George R Brown Convention Center in Downtown Houston
  • The Emergency Response Van arrives in Houston on 9/1/17 and will engage in Rapid Needs Assessment and provide Emergency Response Team Leaders for managing IOCC Orthodox Action Volunteers when the time is appropriate
  • On or about 9/1/17, through partners Church World Service and Good360, IOCC has arranged for 2 truckloads of  hygiene kits, cleanup buckets, food and baby products to the Houston area
  • IOCC’s US field office remains in contact with American Red Cross, National VOAD, Texas VOAD, NECHAMA Jewish Disaster, All-Hands Disaster, and other partners on the ground to assess the situation and understand relief gaps needed to be filled
  • Additionally, IOCC’s partner Church World Service has informed us that there is a tremendous need for hygiene kits and clean up buckets. Instructions on creating and shipping kits here:
  • Aside from clean up buckets and hygiene kits, made to the specifications listed here:, please know that cash donations are most efficient at this time and give us flexibility in our crisis response
  • We would caution against receiving material goods UNLESS it is something that we have specifically requested
  • Those interested in volunteering to help in the clean-up efforts in the region should register through our Volunteer Registration form at:
  • IOCC staff are checking in with every Orthodox parish in the region to assess cleanup needs
    • In addition to determining cleanup needs for parishes, IOCC staff are in the process of assessing when and where cleanup of homes will begin
    • If parishioners have specific needs for help cleaning their homes, please ask that they speak to their parish priest who will, in turn, be coordinating with IOCC
  • Information on IOCC response is available on IOCC website ( and social media channels at IOCCRelief