Southeast Asia

We are working with migrants and refugees across Southeast Asia

MSF has been in Southeast Asia almost since our organisation was founded.

It is here where we established our first-ever large scale medical response to a refugee crisis. In 1975, we provided medical care for waves of Cambodians, seeking sanctuary from the Khmer Rouge.

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To this day, we are responding to the needs of refugees and migrants across the region, whether it be displacement from persecution, conflict or natural disasters.

Notable events in our timeline include the Vietnam War, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, as well as HIV care in Cambodia.

We continue to work in the region, most recently focusing our attention on Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.


Follow the links for more in-depth information on our work in CambodiaMyanmar and the Philippines.

For further updates on our work in Southeast Asia, follow @MSF_seAsia on Twitter.

MSF’s work in Southeast Asia: 2016

In 2016, MSF worked with migrants and refugees – including the Rohingya people – in locations across Southeast Asia.



We provided mental healthcare to Rohingya refugees living in four camps in Banda Aceh.

Here, we:

  • Carried out psychological sessions – attended by 1,244 people.
  • Adopted a mobile strategy when consultation numbers fell late in the year.
  • Carried out emergency interventions.
  • Donated hygiene kits after flash floods in West Java.
  • Provided psychological support to 2,529 people following an earthquake in Aceh.


    In 2016, we worked with a Thai organisation to set up a mental health programme.

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    We focused our support on migrant communities held in detention facilities, as well as human trafficking victims living in shelters and immigration detention centres in southern Thailand.

    In 2016:

  • Over 2,400 migrants received psychosocial sessions.
  • In 230 cases, the tram provided individual and family counselling.
  • The project closed at the end of 2016 – Thai authorities eased pressure on smuggling networks, and as a result detainee numbers in immigration detention centres declined.



We supported partner NGOs in providing healthcare (via mobile clinics) to the Rohingya people and other migrant groups in Malaysia.

In 2016, we:

  • Carried out 3,294 consultations.
  • Saw 236 pregnant women.
  • Referred over 100 people in need of secondary and tertiary care to public hospitals.

We also addressed the protection needs of asylum seekers in Malaysia. This was done by making referrals to the UNHCR (the UN refugee agency) on behlad of people who were not authorised to file applications directly.

During that year, we identified and referred 253 cases.

Find out more in our International Activity Report 

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