Gift of the Givers show SA's support in Gaza

Gift of the Givers will spend the next few days trying to ease the humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

Gift of the Givers, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Relief organisation Gift of the Givers will spend the next few days trying to ease the humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

A 10 member team is in the region to provide medical assistance to injured civilians.

Chairperson Imtiaz Sooliman has expressed shock at the extent of the damage in the region.

"It's frightening, the number of buildings that have been destroyed is shocking. It's like an earthquake hit this place."

Earlier this week the team was stuck at the border between Egypt and Gaza after their authorisation was revoked.

He says now that all members have been able to enter Gaza they are ready to show South Africa's support.

"They were extremely grateful for South Africa's support and they said they have been monitoring the news and watching the marches and the support from the government."

He adds his team will now wait for its medical supplies to arrive before they begin their service.

"We're going to be working probably in the European Gaza Hospital, which is an orthopedic hospital, which we have supported for the last five years and the Nasser Hospital which we have never been to before, where there is a severe amount of damage and destruction."

Meanwhile, a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians aimed at ending their seven-week conflict in Gaza appeared to be holding early on Wednesday as the focus shifted to securing an arrangement for the long term.

No clear victor emerged from what had become a war of attrition between the Middle East's most powerful armed forces and the dominant Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip.

Exacting a heavy toll in Palestinian lives and property, Israel said it dealt a strong blow to Hamas, killing several of its military leaders and destroying the group's cross-border infiltration tunnels.

But Israel also faced persistent rocket fire for nearly two months that caused an exodus from a number of border communities and became part of daily life in its commercial heartland.

Palestinian and Egyptian officials said the deal, which was mediated in Cairo and took effect on Tuesday evening, called for an indefinite halt to hostilities, the immediate opening of Gaza's blockaded crossings with Israel and Egypt and a widening of the territory's fishing zone in the Mediterranean.