South African humanitarian aid group Gift of the Givers is on the ground assisting those affected by the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
The conflict broke last Saturday, when Hamas fired thousands of rockets on Israel from Gaza, launching a surprise attack that has so far killed more than 1 200 Israelis and seen an estimated 150 people taken hostage.
The assault signalled a new bloody chapter in a decades-long battle over land and sovereignty.
Israeli defence forces mounted a swift response, triggering a war between the nation and Hamas, which controls the besieged Gaza Strip.
Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman says the organisation has had a permanent presence in Gaza since 2014.
The team is on the ground and the situation is horrific, he adds.
“They said this is a total massacre. Civilians’ blocks have been flattened. More than 1 100 people have died, of which over 300 are children,” he says.
Sooliman adds that an estimated 6 000 people have been injured.
“Ten hospitals have been targeted and 10 ambulances have been destroyed. Out of the 10 hospitals, four are not functional… There is no electricity and no water.
“Forty-eight schools have been hit, and moving in the streets is difficult,” says Sooliman.
It is a very difficult situation and people have tried to move families into safer places, he adds.
“If trucks are bringing food from Egypt, they are being threatened that they will be bombed. This is not a way to fight a war.”
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