A 4-year-old girl who was shot multiple times in the Christchurch mosque attacks has "swallowed a teaspoon of water" and sat up in her bed as she takes small steps to recovery after waking from a coma.
Wasseim Alsati's daughter Alen has been able to sit up and is responding to simple questions as she recovers in Auckland's Starship Hospital, surrounded by family.
She was critically hurt when she was shot at the Al Noor mosque on March 15. Her father Wasseim was also shot multiple times. Fifty people died in the attacks that took place at two Christchurch mosques.
The latest updates from a Givealittle page set up to raise money for the family said Alen was beginning to respond to "questions with one-word answers" and sat up for half an hour.
She also managed to "swallow a teaspoon of water" but was not yet eating solid foods.
She can't yet move her body with control, and her eyes do not track or fix on anyone.
"Please keep praying with us - every small development is very exciting," the family said in the Givealittle update.
Wassiem earlier told the Weekend Herald that while his daughter had made some progress in recognising her mother's voice, doctors warned it could be up to six months before they get a clear idea of her long-term outlook.
"My daughter doesn't recognise nobody yet. She can't speak, see, talk or eat by herself. She has a tube in her nose. She is not listening or communicating – it is heartbreaking," he said.
"We don't know how long she will be like that. It could be forever. We are very emotional and always crying"
He said he still had nightmares of the attack where he could still feel the shots coming at him and his legs collapsing.
"You cannot imagine how bad it is - it is unbearable and painful," he said.
He still can't walk properly but had hoped to be released from hospital over the weekend before starting rehabilitation in three weeks.
The award-winning Jordanian barber has had to close his business and said he is feeling the stress of having to support his family of six.
He has so far had surgery to remove "shrapnel and bone out of his hip socket" and surgery for a "perforated bowel and an injury to his pelvis".
"I won't be able to work for a long, long time. I have six open wounds in my tummy and my hip. I have a screw inside me so I need a long [time] to heal," he said.
"I use a walking frame to walk a few steps and I am in a wheelchair for the next 10 months."
More than $45,000 had so far been raised on the Givealittle page for Alen and Wassiem.
The father of four earlier took to Facebook to record a video thanking the medical staff and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for their support.
"I love you all, guys, and respect you all, guys, thank you very much," he said.