News / Africa

Medical Aid Group Launches Fundraiser for Central Africa Republic

Yaman Ahmat, center, sits with her children at Bangui Airport after only hours earlier, her husband Marcus Madi, had put her and their eight children including newborn daughter Ashta onto a flight to the capital in a desperate bid to save their lives, but he was tragically killed on his return from the airport, March 7, 2014.
Yaman Ahmat, center, sits with her children at Bangui Airport after only hours earlier, her husband Marcus Madi, had put her and their eight children including newborn daughter Ashta onto a flight to the capital in a desperate bid to save their lives, but he was tragically killed on his return from the airport, March 7, 2014.
The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders -- known by its French acronym MSF -- has launched an appeal in South Africa to raise $50,000 for its operations in the Central African Republic (CAR).   The campaign -- called #ActForCAR -- says the funds are urgently needed to help some of the 1 million Central Africans displaced over the past 15 months.

Speaking at the launch of the MSF fundraising drive in Johannesburg on Wednesday, South African psychologist Gail Wormersley said thousands of displaced people in the CAR are living in human misery and terror.

She appealed to South Africans to urgently donate at least $50,000 for water purification, malaria treatment, food supplements for children and general medical care.

Wormersley, who spent six weeks in the CAR providing psychological counseling to patients and MSF staff, described the mood of the victims as dominated by hopelessness.

“What I saw is people who have been exposed to such high levels of conflict and of trauma, almost reached a stage where they stop feeling, it’s a stage of feeling absolutely overwhelmed and powerless in the face of the situation and a level of despair," explained Wormersley. "Where people almost want to say, "Let me give up, I can’t handle this situation.'"

South African TV personality and businessman Masego Maponya was also on hand and asked South Africans to do their part in saving lives.

“We’re here today to really call to action and appeal to the public to try and raise this 500,000 rand because we feel that it’s reachable.  If you think about it, it’s 50 rand from 10,000 people and every single cent really, really counts, no matter how much anyone contributes.” Maponya stated.

The crisis in the CAR began a year ago when the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels overthrew the president and launched a wave of killing and looting -- provoking a backlash from mostly Christian militias known as the anti-balaka.   

At least one quarter of the country’s 4.6 million people have been displaced and are in need of urgent medical care both inside the country and in refugee camps in neighboring Chad and Cameroon.

Wormersley said every month MSF medical staff provides nearly 30,000 consultations but that is not enough. 

“All South Africans have a role that they can play, be it giving 50 rand to the appeal. A 100 rand can provide 200,000 liters of safe drinking water.  Five hundred rand gives us enough medical equipment to care for the mothers who have to deliver babies safely under these incredibly stressful situations,” said Wormersley.

South Africa - the economic powerhouse on the continent - was among the first to respond to the growing CAR crisis in 2013.  It dispatched several hundred soldiers only to withdraw shortly after when 13 were killed and nearly 30 badly injured during the Seleka-backed coup.

MSF hopes South Africans feel solidarity through loss and contribute.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs