There are some 39 million refugees and displaced persons in the world today, and Angelenos can get a hint of how they live and survive at "A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City" exhibition, now in Exposition Park through Oct. 22.
The exhibit will continue at the Santa Monica Pier Oct. 25-29 and at the Earvin "Magic" Johnson Recreation Center Nov. 2-6.
Visitors will become acquainted with the basic elements of a real refugee camp, including shelter, food, water, sanitation and basic health care.
"The appalling conditions of refugees living in camps throughout the world is a tragic - but very abstract - notion for many citizens of the industrialized world," says Joelle Tanguy, executive director of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres, the international medical relief organization sponsoring the exhibit.
"Most of us have little or no personal experience that allows us to understand the true horrors faced by people forced to flee their homes," adds Tanguy. "Their plight is unacceptable, yet lack of knowledge means that little action is taken to change their situation."
Complementing the refugee camps are a series of lectures and supplementary exhibits, including: "Exiled at Home and Abroad: The Kosovo Crisis," a photo exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance through Oct. 22.
"Working in a Refugee Crisis: The Volunteer Perspective" at the Ken Edwards Center, 1527 Fourth St., Santa Monica, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.
"Access to Medical Care: A Human Right," a panel discussion at the Wyndham Bel Age Hotel, 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.
"What is Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres?" a report by logistical coordinator Peter Lorber at the Johnson Recreation Center, 905 E. El Segundo Blvd., Nov. 5 at 3 p.m.
The simulated refugee camps are open and free to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations and dates.
Exposition Park, 900 Exposition Blvd. (at Vermont Avenue) through Oct. 22. Santa Monica Pier, North Beach Parking Lot, Ocean Ave. at Colorado Blvd, Oct. 25-29. Earvin "Magic" Johnson Recreation Center, 905 E. El Segundo Blvd. (at Avalon Blvd.), Los Angeles, Nov. 2-6.
For information, call (310) 277-2793. For additional background, access Website www.refugeecamp.org