Gift of the Givers on Gaza mission

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IOL  GiftoftheGivers155 THE STAR 16 tons of medical supplies destined for Gaza, valued at R15 million, was loaded at the Gift of the Givers logistics centre in Bramley, Joburg. Photo: Matthews Baloyi

Johannesburg - Gift of the Givers left for Gaza on Tuesday night.

Their mission will take them via Egypt, from where they will cross by land to the Gaza border.

But, their journey actually began more than a month ago, when they began the long negotiation process to get access to the area.

Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the Givers, said they had originally wanted to take a medical team of 38 South African doctors, but had to downscale to 10 trauma doctors because of limitations set by the relevant governments.

“It’s very difficult to get access… Everything has to be done by their rules.”

Sooliman said it was not guaranteed that they would not encounter problems on their journeys, but they were hoping for the best.

Earlier on Tuesday, a cargo plane was already on its way to Egypt with 16 tons of emergency medical supplies, valued at R15 million.

The cargo was to be released to Gift of the Givers by Cairo customs on Wednesday, as well as items donated to the organisation by American NGOs.

The Givers team were scheduled to enter Rafah this afternoon, if all went according to plan, and the supplies would follow a day later.

Sooliman said they had not picked a spot they would work from, but would take direction from the local authorities as to where they were needed most.

“We will respond to those needs to give them maximum benefit.”

This is Gift of the Givers’ second mission to Gaza - they also sent a team in 2009.

It’s expected that the mission will last 10-12 days.

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