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SA disaster relief organisation the Gift of the Givers will build a hospital, buy medical equipment and supplies, and send ambulances to aid civilians in war-torn Syria, thanks to a massive cash injection from a Cape Town-based charity.
The R750 000 donation from the Al Iqlaas Foundation, for the Gift of the Givers’ Syria Humanitarian Aid project, was handed over yesterday at the relief organisation’s Athlone headquarters.
Gift of the Givers Foundation is the largest disaster relief organisation of African origin on the African continent, and its founder Imtiaz Sooliman said they had been part of several international relief efforts, including those in Somalia and Japan.
But he expressed concern that there was “virtually no international aid or media coverage on the atrocities being carried out by the Syrian government on its own people”.
Syria is wracked by a civil war between the Syrian army and rebels trying to depose the government, under the leadership of President Bashir al-Assad. Between 35 000 and 40 000 people have reportedly been killed, and countless more injured since the uprising began in March last year. Sooliman said yesterday an estimated 98 percent of the victims of the war were women and children.
“The rebels are not soldiers, as reported in the media, but normal people like teachers and students who have taken up arms to protect themselves and their families.”
During an address at the Masjidul Quds mosque in Gatesville before the cheque handover, Sooliman described the nightmare of the aftermath of the massacres.
Abdul Kader Peers, representing the Al Iqlaas Foundation, said he was on the verge of tears by Sooliman’s stories.
Pretoria News Weekend