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MARSEILLE: The CMA-CGM Corporate Foundation has renewed its support for French NGOs Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Action Contra La Faim to provide free container shipping to Africa.

The foundation said it has also added Handicap International to its humanitarian 'Containers of Hope' logistics operation that has shipped 1,340 tons in 170 containers since it began the programme in 2012.

Containers of HopeNaïla Saadé, executive officer of CMA-CGM and foundation president said: "Children are the first victims of malnutrition and the most sensitive to the lack of care. For many years, we have been supporting associations who act towards underprivileged children. With the Containers of Hope operation, we wanted to go further by giving our support to NGOs working in Africa; today we will reinforce the existing actions and extend our activities to other continents."

Containers of Hope has relied on the CMA-CGM network in 43 African countries via 72 agencies and 48 ports of call to deliver humanitarian aid to Mali, Niger, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Somalia, Southern Sudan, Ivory Coast, Republic of Central Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Malawi and Madagascar.

"Logistics and transportation of material and equipment represent on average 20 percent of the costs of a humanitarian programme. To be able to benefit from free shipping for our humanitarian material is a tremendous support," commented Jean-Marc Boivin, general manager of Handicap International France.

The announcement coincides with the decision by MSF to evacuate a number of staff from Ndélé in the north of the CAR following attacks by four armed men on its staff and facilities.

"We carry out more than 1,600 consultations here weekly, and about a third of them are for children under five-years-old. MSF is the only healthcare provider in the city, so the impact of our departure will be tragic for this community," said MSF head of Mission Javier Eguren.

The move comes a month after a massacre in Boguila that killed 18 civilians, including three MSF workers. The NGO says there have been 115 "security incidents" in the CAR between December 2012 and March 2014.

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