Groups here have raised more than $1 million for relief efforts in the Gaza Strip, where more than 1,800 people have died since Israel launched an offensive nearly a month ago.

One of these is a Muslim charity, the Religious and Educational League of Radin Mas (Bapa), which has raised over half a million dollars, or more than five times its original target of $100,000.

In total, Bapa and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Mercy Relief and the Singapore Red Cross have raised more than $1 million.

Ustaz Muhammad Zahid, head of Bapa’s social and humani- tarian department, told The Straits Times yesterday that the overwhelming response was thanks to social media, and that 40 per cent of donors had heard about the fund-raising on Facebook.

“Because of Facebook, people can see what is going on over there and the needs (that people have),” he said.

Realising social media is an effective way to raise funds, the charity hired someone solely to handle its social media accounts before Ramadan last month, he said, adding that the Gaza fund-raiser is an annual event during the Muslim holy month.

Bapa’s Facebook page was filled with requests to donate, with members of the public sharing pictures and issuing appeals of their own.

Bapa has spent about half of the money raised so far on emergency medical and food aid.

Mercy Relief has, in turn, spent $250,000 on food and medical aid, as well as a fully equipped ambulance.

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