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Apr 01, 2014 at 04:22 PM
Issued by: Doctors without Borders

Attention: News Editors

For immediate release:


South Africa, Central African Republic, MSF South Africa

MSF South Africa launches a nation-wide public fundraising drive called #ActForCAR today asking for South Africans to urgently donate to MSF provide medical care to the people of Central African Republic (CAR) who face a growing humanitarian crisis.

TV personality and businessman Maps Maponyane and South African psychologist Gail Womersley - recently back from CAR - will launch the appeal at a press event in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

WHAT: Launch of MSF South Africa public fundraising appeal #ActForCAR,
WHEN: Wednesday April 2 | 10:30am - 12:30am
WHERE: Jorissen Room, Devonshire Hotel - c/o Jorissen & Melle str, Braamfontein
WHO: SA psychologist Gail Womersley, recently returned after 6 weeks in CAR with MSF

Maps Maponyane, South African TV presenter and businessman, MSF supporter

The #ActForCAR appeal is the first South African appeal for the CAR crisis and hopes to raise R500, 000 to support MSF's medical efforts in the country.

Interviews will be available with Gail and Maps after the press event and for the duration of the appeal.

Kate Ribet, Media Liaison Officer, MSF SA
| 079 872 2950 | www.msf.org.za


MSF South Africa launches #ActForCAR fundraising appeal to support medical care in crisis

JOHANNESBURG, 2 April 2014 - A year ago, few South Africans were able to point out the Central African Republic (CAR) on a map, until the deaths of South African soldiers during the 2013 coup d'état in Bangui. Today actor and businessman, Masego "Maps" Maponyane teams up with medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders/MSF to launch the #ActForCAR fundraising drive. This appeal is the first of its kind, calling on South Africans to show solidarity with fellow Africans caught in crisis.

Following the coup by Séléka forces, CAR descended into crisis with nearly 25% of the 4.6 million residents now bearing the brunt of a spiralling humanitarian emergency playing out amidst brutal inter-communal strife. Nearly 1 million people are displaced and 300,000 Muslims have fled the country in terror following successive waves of violence since December 2013. The basic humanitarian needs are immense; and food, shelter, clean water and medical care are in short supply.

"I've been following the conflict and crisis in CAR for months now. This situation needs to be prioritised. There's been a disappointing level of attention among South Africans about the ongoing crisis. To be honest, we failed Rwanda and woke up too late once the genocide had occurred. Surely we can't allow that again?" says Maponyane.

"We need to do something as Africans. We need to add hope to what is presently a near hopeless situation. I felt the urgency to join MSF's #ActForCAR appeal. I'm calling on other South Africans to do the same -donate to support MSF's ability in providing medical care in this crisis."

With the #ActForCAR fundraising drive, MSF South Africa hopes to raise R500,000 from South Africans who stand in solidarity with the people of CAR. All funds raised will support MSF teams in CAR to provide medical care and clean water to thousands of people through seven emergency projects around the country where 2,200 local and international MSF staff work, as well as in neighbouring countries.

Gail Womersley is a South African clinical psychologist who has just returned from a 6-week-long assignment in CAR with MSF. She provided psychological counselling services to patients and MSF staff.

"When you step off the plane in Bangui you're confronted with the crisis, human misery and terror people experience daily. About 60,000 people are living at the airport in horrid conditions. The most stressful thing is the overwhelming needs people have - especially outside Bangui and now in refugee camps in Chad and Cameroon. Since December MSF teams have treated over 4,000 wounded and delivered over 700 infants. Every month our medical staff provide nearly 30,000 consultations in CAR, Chad and Cameroon. But we feel like we cannot do enough," says Womersley.
The worst might yet still come as the rainy season will start in a few weeks.

"We expect a surge of malaria cases and a greater risk of waterborne disease in camps in the coming weeks. We already see children suffering from malaria, malnutrition and measles - a deadly combination. Overall, people are beyond desperate and the daily violence is real. Often people remain trapped in enclaves without help. My colleagues and I dodged bullets regularly, but it is our patients who cannot escape the terror. People remain under threat by brutal militia, be it ex-Séléka forces or anti-Balaka. MSF needs support from South Africans to do more in CAR and refugees," Womersley concludes.

SUPPORT MSF South Africa's #ActForCAR FUNDRAISING APPEAL - DONATE online www.msf.org.za/donate - SMS ‘Join' to 42110 - CALL TOLL FREE 0800 000 331

* R 100 purifies 200,000 litres of water to provide 10,000 people with safe drinking water for one day
* R 200 helps MSF buy malaria treatment to cure 26 adults with the disease in just three days
* R 300 enables MSF to purchase five weeks of ready-to-use-food supplements and save the life of a malnourished child
* R 500 safeguards the lives of five mothers and their babies during labour and birth by providing MSF with the necessary equipment
* R 750 provides measles vaccines for 350 children
* R 7,000 provides a first aid kit to our doctors, enabling them to respond to medical emergencies

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