Gift of the Givers taking a jumbo jet full of supplies into Gaza

2009-01-08 00:00

The Gift of the Givers is preparing to wing their way to help those stricken by the conflict in Gaza.

Supported by the South African Council of Churches, the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Cosatu, and jointly with the Foreign Affairs Department, the international aid organisation is preparing its largest ever humanitarian aid flight.

Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the organisation, said yesterday he will lead a mission in a jumbo jet with an 84-ton carrying capacity.

“This is the largest plane ever used by Gift of the Givers in its 16 years of disaster relief operations,” said Sooliman. If all goes well, the mission will depart on January 19.

Sooliman said they will take medical equipment and supplies, bottled water, food, baby milk, high energy and protein supplements, mattresses and blankets.

“Intense negotiations are underway with the Jordanian government, who have guaranteed safe passage through the West Bank into Gaza … . Negotiations are also underway with the Egyptian government and Israel. The UN Rescue and Works Agency … has also promised full support and safe passage in association with them.”

Sooliman said the aid package is a collective contribution from all the people of South Africa. He said he was not afraid to go into war zones. “I have been in Bosnia and Iraq and other places, with bombs falling all around us.”

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