From the news desk

Al Quds container off to Durban port

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By Shireen Fisher

A 40 foot container filled with vital humanitarian goods for battered Syria is set to head to the Durban port later today. Goods from around the country, donated to the displaced people of Syria, were sealed in the container late last night at the Al Quds Foundation’s Johannesburg office.

The foundation recently launched a humanitarian appeal for Syria following weeks on intense fighting in Aleppo which has forced 100 000 Syrians to flee to other parts of the country. The foundation has an office in Syria which functions in Damascus.

The foundation’s national director Maulana Ihsaan Henricks said last night’s proceeding to get the container ready was a great success.

“The container was sealed by our trustee Haji Yunus Allie and our Johannesburg representative Maulana Ahmad Mohammed and we are indeed very pleased to say that we have loaded into that container, goods that came from Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, consisting of a combination of all the necessities such as blankets, diapers, sanitary products and clothing. We also can inform the community that when we sealed the container last night in Johannesburg, we now have another 40 foot container that is ready to be loaded in the next week or two,” said Hendricks.

The container is destined for the seaport in Durban and is expected to leave the country by Saturday for the latest, according to Hendricks.

“Within the next 25 days it will reach Turkey and will then be coordinated by the Turkish humanitarian organisation, IHH. We have seen this morning that a convoy of close to 2000 cars accompanied the 1500 trucks destined for the Syrian border to start with the distribution of the goods that have come from the other parts of the world,” he stated.

Yesterday, R1 million was handed over to the Al Quds Foundation from monies raised through a national telethon organised by #OperationSA. The charity initiative raised R10 million through public donations, and contributed these funds to seven local organisations assisting Syria.

Hendricks added that the foundation wished to announce to the South African community that goods collected by them will all be part of on-going initiatives in the near future.

“We feel we have to reach out to brothers and sisters in Syria. The community needs to be reminded that the Syrian people used to cater for other people from other parts of the world, for example the Palestinian crisis. One of the best structured Palestinian refugee camps I’ve seen has been in Syria,” said Hendricks.

“When we see the massacre in Syria, the killing and butchering of people, we cannot remain quiet. The least we can do is provide some relief to the Syrian people. “

In 2012, the foundation facilitated the Africa1Aid convoy from Cape Town to Gaza, a successful relief project. About 100 South Africans joined the convoy and R10 million was raised.

Hendricks said the next phase of the campaign would be a container of medical supplies to be sent to Syria.

However, the public can continue to donate other goods. The main donations still needed are blankets, diapers, children’s clothing, toys, and stationery.

For more information, contact Shakir Baker on 083 3940744. VOC

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