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Malaysian Aid Team To Gaza Return Home Safely | 10/01/2010
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SEPANG, Jan 10 2010 (Bernama) -- Nine Malaysians who were part of the largest Viva Palestina humanitarian aid convoy, arrived home safely on Sunday afternoon.

The four members of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation, four Bernama TV crewmen and a representative of Yayasan Al Bukhari made up the 450-member convoy.

The Malaysian team, which was led by Matthias Chang, arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 2.05pm.

"Thank God for his blessings and grace. None of us was injured. Thank God for giving us the strength to fulfill our mission for a complete success," Chang told reporters upon arrival at the KLIA.

Earlier, their journey to Gaza was long delayed and exhaustive.

After weeks of delay, the contingent members were finally allowed to enter the besieged Palestinian enclave with more than a million dollars worth of medical, food and educational supplies for its people.

"We were determined not to return home until and unless we entered Gaza and delivered the aids to Gaza. That, we have accomplished," he said.

Malaysia donated four trucks of humanitarian aid and an ambulance vehicle worth 100,000 pounds to the Gaza Elwafa Hospital.

"The journey itself is not very difficult, but what was most difficult was the waiting in between various stops. Of course, we were not on a holiday. Some of the stops were camps and it was very rough.

"Having led a life where personal hygiene is observed, (just imagine) living in camps where not everything was available.

"At times, we slept in open camps. The wind was very chilly but the spirit within us to succeed in the mission, kept us spiritually warm to overcome whatever difficulties."

Chang described the Malaysian team as "very united, determined and dignified".

Organisation chairman and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali were among those present at the KLIA to welcome the Malaysian team.

On Dr Mahathir, Chang said: "Whenever there were difficulties (during the journey to Gaza), Tun's aid and support through phone calls were very assuring to many members of the convoy.

"Besides Dr Mahathir, efforts by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the prime minister, sending all the notes to various counterparts in Egypt and the Red Cresent had alleviated some of the most difficult problems that the convoy members encountered."

The Viva Palestina humanitarian aid convoy which began its long journey from London on Dec 6, last year, crossed the Rafah border into Gaza, early Thursday (Jan 7).

About 150 vehicles of the total 220, filled to the brim with humanitarian aid, are now in the hands of Palestinians living in Gaza which has been under seige by the Tel Aviv regime.

Israel imposed a crippling siege on the Gaza strip after the Hamas regime took full control of the territory in June 2007.

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