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Group Sets up Refugee Camp in Griffith Park

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Councilman Tom LaBonge welcomes Dr. Matthew Spitzer and Doctors Without Borders to Griffith Park (Photo by Emily Lerman for LAist)

Doctors Without Borders' "A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City" opened yesterday in Griffith Park. Councilman Tom LaBonge joined Dr. Matthew Spitzer, MSF USA Board President, at a press conference yesterday morning, as Spitzer explained the treacherous journey across the Gulf of Amman that thousands of Somalians have taken to escape the lasting violence and civil war that continues to plague the country.

The exhibit aims to give visitors a deeper look into life inside a refugee camp, asking them to "imagine they are among the 42 million estimated people worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge from war or conflict". Spitzer says the goal is to "bring home and raise awareness of the worlds refugees and internally displaced persons." He hopes that by doing so, it will "put these issues into conversation and allow people to see the role they can play in the world". Experienced Doctors Without Borders aid workers guide visitors through a tour of the camp, explaining everything from the food distribution area to the vaccination tent and cholera treatment center. At the end of the exhibit, visitors can read stories of individual refugees from Somalia, Colombia, Iraq, Sudan and Thailand.