The MSF Timeline

2013: MSF withdraws from Somalia

In August, MSF closes all of its programmes in Somalia after 22 years of operations.

The decision comes after a long series of threats, kidnappings, extremely violent attacks on staff, and murders.

Mauritania, 2013 © Lynsey Addario/VII

Mauritania, 2013 © Lynsey Addario/VII

MSF helps people fleeing Mali

With tensions simmering in Mali, the French military intervene to suppress an Islamist uprising in January.

MSF continues its emergency medical work accross Mali and assists people who have fled the conflict to neighbouring countries.

Syria, 2012 © Nicole Tung

Syria, 2012 © Nicole Tung

2012: MSF responds to Syrian conflict

In July, MSF begins to run medical programmes inside Syria, although without authorisation from the Syrian government.

MSF initially sets up three field hospitals in the north of the country. One of the hospitals, located in a cave, would later be bombed after the MSF team leaves for more secure surroundings.

South Sudan, 2012 © Shannon Jensen

South Sudan, 2012 © Shannon Jensen

Refugee influx causes crisis in South Sudan

MSF warns of dire medical consequences as tens of thousands of new refugees cross from Sudan into South Sudan, finding refugee camps full and unable to provide the basic life-sustaining essentials.

The situation in Upper Nile and Unity States rapidly develops into a full-blown crisis as water supplies begin to run out and relief is wholly insufficient.

Guinea, 2012

Guinea, 2012 © David Di Lorenzo/MSF

MSF vaccinates 117,000 people against cholera in Guinea

MSF vaccinates 117,000 people against cholera in the region of Boffa, 150km north of Conakry, the Guinean capital.

This is the first time that people in Africa were protected during a cholera outbreak by a two-dose oral vaccine.

Somalia, 2012

Somalia, 2012 © Peter Casaer/MSF

2011: MSF condemns attack on aid workers in Somalia

Two MSF colleagues, Phillipe Havet and Andrias Karel Keiluhuo, were killed by a gunman while implementing emergency assistance projects in Mogadishu.

Thailand, 2011

Thailand, 2011 © Francesca Di Bonito

Withdrawal from Thailand after 35 years

After months of negotiations and discussions with Thai authorities, it proves impossible to get permission to provide healthcare to undocumented migrants and vulnerable populations in Thailand that MSF believes are most in need of medical assistance.

Japan, 2011

Japan, 2011 © Giulio Di Sturco

MSF works with psychologists in aftermath of Japanese quake

MSF supports a team of six psychologists who treat survivors of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit northeast Japan on March 11th.

Libya, 2011

Libya, 2011 © Sebastien Van Malleghem

Providing urgent medical care in Libya

MSF finally manages to deliver medicines and medical supplies to Sirte, Libya, at the heart of the fighting.

For ten days,we attempt to deliver aid to Sirte where, according to doctors in the town, the healthcare situation had continued to deteriorate.

Haiti, 2010

Haiti, 2010 © Julie Remy

2010: Earthquake in Haiti

After a massive earthquake hits Haiti on January 12th, MSF launches one of its largest ever interventions, expanding its projects in the country from three to a high of 26.

MSF treats more than 173,757 patients, and performs more than 11,748 surgeries in the five months that follow the disaster.

Burkina Faso, 2010

Burkina Faso, 2010 © Jorge Nyari / MSF

MSF and VII launch ''Starved For Attention''

MSF and the VII photo agency launch the "Starved For Attention" multimedia campaign on global malnutrition.

The ongoing exhibition, which has already been staged in the US, Europe, and Africa, highlights the often overlooked global scourge of malnutrition, its lethal impact on children in particular, and some innovative practices employed by MSF and others to combat it.

Pakistan, 2010

Pakistan, 2010 © Andrew McConnell

Flooding submerges Pakistan

MSF responds to massive floods in Pakistan by expanding existing programmes and establishing new ones in areas the organisation hadn’t worked previously.

By December, teams had tended to more than 80,000 patients and distributed nearly 2 million litres of clean water, along with almost 65,000 relief kits.

Haiti, 2010

Haiti, 2010 © Moises Saman/Magnum

Cholera strikes Haiti

In October, after cholera hits Haiti, MSF mobilises hundreds of staff members to respond, eventually opening more than 50 cholera treatment centres across the country, launching widespread public education campaigns, and tending to more than 100,000 patients - more than 60 percent of all cases in the country - in the months that followed.

e Occupied Palestinian Territory, 2009

Occupied Palestinian Territory, 2009 © Bruno Stevens/Cosmos

2009: Conflict in Gaza

MSF supports hospitals in Gaza following an Israeli offensive launched to counter militants firing crude rockets into Israel.

After a ceasefire is announced, MSF opens a surgical hospital and also offers post-operative and psychological care.

Afghanistan, 2010

Afghanistan, 2010 © Kate Ribet/MSF

MSF re-opens programmes in Afghanistan

Following a five year absence (see year 2004),MSF returns to the country and begins supporting hospitals in Kabul and in Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand Province.

Sudan, 2009

Sudan, 2009 © Jenn Warren

A difficult year in Sudan

MSF launches emergency interventions in the south in response to escalating violence and outbreaks.

In Darfur, the government expels two sections and four staff members are kidnapped.

Some projects are therefore closed, but MSF nonetheless provides nearly 129,000 consultations and support numerous local health centers.

Kenya, 2008

Kenya, 2008 © William Martin / MSF

2008: Political unrest in Kenya displaces thousands

MSF treats wounded civilians in the shanty towns of the capital, Nairobi, and assists displaced Kenyans in makeshift camps who flee to the west of the country after disputed presidential elections lead to widespread violence.

Zimbabwe, 2009

Zimbabwe, 2009 © Joanna Stavropoulou/MSF

Fighting cholera in Zimbabwe

After a cholera outbreak started in August, MSF treats more than 65,000 people suffering from the disease over the next 10 months while also supporting government-run facilities with supplies, staff incentive payments, and treatment programmes.

Ethiopia, 2008

Ethiopia, 2008 © MSF

Nutritional crisis in Ethiopia

MSF treats more than 72,000 malnourished children as a massive nutritional crisis sweeps the south of the country as a result of drought, poor harvests, and soaring food prices.

DRC, 2008

DRC, 2008 © Pim Ras

Violence escalates against civilians in DRC

MSF runs mobile clinics, surgical programmes, nutritional programmes, and provides treatment and counselling for victims of sexual violence as thousands of Congolese in North Kivu flee increased and repeated attacks on their villages by armed groups.

Myanmar (Burma), 2008

Myanmar (Burma), 2008 © Eyal Warshawski

Cyclone hits Myanmar

MSF staff already working in the country provide assistance to thousands of people displaced by the cyclone while the government stalls on allowing additional staff to enter the country.

France, 2007

France, 2007 © DNDi

2007: A new treatment for malaria

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative and the pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis launch ASAQ, an inexpensive and easy-to-use combination pill.

ASAQ is not patented, allowing for others to produce it at lower cost.

Somalia, 2007

Somalia, 2007 © Rafa Carrascosa/MSF

Conflict grips Somalia

Hundreds of thousands of civilians flee the capital, Mogadishu, as the worst fighting in 15 years erupts throughout the city.

Amid great insecurity, MSF sets up a surgical programme in Mogadishu, provides assistance to some of those displaced, and maintains medical programmes in the rest of the country.

Uganda, 2007

Uganda, 2007 © Claude Mahoudeau/MSF

Ebola in Uganda

MSF teams confront an Ebola outbreak in Uganda. After carrying out a rapid assessment, MSF set up isolation units in the Kikyo health centre and the Bundibugyo hospital.

Chad, 2007

Chad, 2007 © Marcus Bleasdale

Crisis unfolds in Chad

More than 150,000 displaced people attempt to survive in makeshift camps in eastern Chad as fighting escalates between government and rebel groups.

MSF scales up its medical programmes and calls for a massive international humanitarian response.

DRC, 2008

DRC, 2008 © Pascale Zintzen/MSF

2006: Measles vaccination campaign in DRC

MSF launch a massive measles vaccination campaign in DRC. In only a few weeks, MSF teams vaccinate 359,318 children under the age of five.

Angola, 2006

Angola, 2006 © MSF

Massive cholera outbreak in Angola

MSF treats 26,000 people and sends more than 400 tonnes of supplies to respond to a cholera outbreak that spreads from the capital to more than half the country.

Jordan, 2006

Jordan, 2006 © Frederik Matte / MSF

Surgical care for victims of war in Iraq

Unable to work safely in Iraq, MSF sets up a reconstructive surgical program in Amman, Jordan to treat severely war-wounded patients referred by medical colleagues in Iraq.

Sri Lanka, 2007

Sri Lanka, 2007 © Henk Braam

Sri Lanka returns to war

As tens of thousands of people flee renewed fighting in the north of the country, MSF reopens surgical programmes in north and central Sri Lanka after facing a series of setbacks from the authorities.

Niger, 2005

Niger, 2005 © Stephan Oberreit

2005: Nutritional crisis in Niger

MSF begin an emergency operation to treat tens of thousands of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in various parts of Niger, opening seven in-patient centres and 27 ambulatory centres.

Indonesia, 2005

Indonesia, 2005 © Greenpeace/Christian Aslund

Asian Tsunami

MSF reacts immediately to the Asian tsunami disaster.

Within 48 hours teams were working on the ground and 32 tonnes of medical, water and sanitation supplies had been dispatched.

Thanks to the huge international response to the tsunami, the worst of the emergency was over by May.

MSF felt able to ask its donors, 99 percent of whom agree, to allow it to reallocate some of the funds received to other MSF emergency medical programmes around the world.

Pakistan, 2005

Pakistan, 2005 © Bruno Stevens / Cosmos

Earthquake hits Southeast Asia

MSF runs mobile clinics to reach people trapped in remote villages and sets up inflatable surgical tents to treat thousands of people injured in the massive earthquake that hit the Kashmir region of Pakistan and India.

Haiti, 2006

Haiti, 2006 © Sergio Cecchini/MSF

Civilians under fire in Haiti's capital

MSF provides surgical, primary, and mental health care to people caught in the violence gripping Port-au-Prince, treating thousands of gunshot, machete, and knife wounds, and calls for all armed groups to respect the safety of civilians.

Sudan, 2004

Sudan, 2004 © Ton Koene

2004: Meeting the emergency in Western Darfur

MSF open feeding centres, clinics and vaccination campaigns in western Sudan (Darfur) and Chad, where hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence face starvation.

Afghanistan, 2004

Afghanistan, 2004 © Ton Koene

Afghanistan withdrawal

MSF pull out completely following the killing of five of its workers and the continuing threat to its teams by the Taliban.

Iraq, 2003

Iraq, 2003 © Geert van Kesteren

2003: US invade Iraq

MSF teams remain in Baghdad and challenge the US government on its failure to provide adequate medical care to civilians.

DRC, 2003

DRC, 2003 © Julie Kerleroux/MSF

Civilians suffer in DRC

MSF run dozens of medical programmes for people caught in the region’s chronic conflict.

DNDi created

MSF is a founding partner in the new organisation The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative dedicated to developing medicines for neglected Diseases.

Liberia, 2003

Liberia, 2003 © Francois Dominguez

Heavy fighting in the Liberian Capital

MSF remain in Monrovia to treat victims during fierce fighting between government and rebel groups.

Angola, 2002

Angola, 2002 © Ton Koene

2002: Famine in Angola

MSF run the largest operation in our history, with 200 international volunteers and more than 2,000 local staff working throughout the country.

Burundi, 2002

Burundi, 2002 © Ian Berry/Magnum Photos

Malaria killing millions in Africa

Faced with skyrocketing resistance to common antimalarials like chloroquine MSF increase its use of artemisin-based combination therapy, and push for wider availability of this effective treatment.

Pakistan, 2002

Pakistan, 2002© Chris de Bode

US-led Coalition invade Afghanistan

With many International staff evacuated, our programmes continue to operate led by Afghan staff.

Aid Workers targeted

MSF worker Arjan Erkel is abducted in the North Caucacus, a victim of increasing dangers faced by aid workers in conflict zones worldwide.

Cambodia, 2000

Cambodia, 2000 © Roger Job

2001: HIV/AIDS pandemic

MSF start providing antiretroviral therapy to people living with AIDS in the following seven countries: Thailand, Cambodia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi, and South Africa.

Sierra Leone, 1999

Sierra Leone, 1999 © Teun Voeten

2000: Civil War in Sierra Leone

MSF treat victims of the country’s brutal civil war.

Spain, 2000

Spain, 2000 © Juan Carlos Tomasi

Asylum seekers flee to Europe

MSF expand programmes assisting asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

Georgia, 2003

Georgia, 2003 © Simon Lourie

1999: Launch of Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines

With millions dying each year from treatable infectious diseases, MSF start an international effort to push for increased access to medicines for the world's poor.

Russia Chechyna, 1999

Russia Chechyna, 1999 © Olivier Jobard/Sipa Press

Second war in Chechnya

MSF call for access to Grozny and denounce the massive use of violence by Russian forces against civilians.

Nobel Prize

MSF is awarded the Nobel Prize and honoured for its "pioneering humanitarian work on several continents".

Albania, 1999

Albania, 1999 © Roger Job

Crisis in Kosovo

During NATO bombing of Serbia, we provide humanitarian assistance to refugees in FYR of Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro.

Sudan, 1998

Sudan, 1998 © Remco Bohle

1998: Famine in South Sudan

MSF respond to widespread famine caused by civil war and drought.

Civil war in Republic of Congo

MSF integrate treatment for survivors of rape and sexual assault into our emergency response.

Honduras, 1998

Honduras, 1998 © Larry Towell

Hurricane Mitch

MSF assist victims in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Famine in North Korea

Unable to ensure that medical aid was reaching the most vulnerable, we end our programmes after three years, but continue to assist refugees fleeing to China.

Brazil, 1997

Brazil, 1997 © Marleen Daniels

1997: Street children neglected in Madagascar, Brazil and the Philippines

MSF medical and social programmes for vulnerable and maginalised youth are expanded.

DRC, 1997

DRC, 1997 © Kadir van Lohuizen / Noor

Rwandan refugee crisis continues

MSF fight for access to Rwandan refugees, many of whom are massacred or die of starvation and disease.

DRC, 1996

DRC, 1996 © Corinne Dufka/Reuters

1996-97: Rwandan refugees seek aid

MSF assist refugees forced out of camps in Zaire as they return home, but are blocked from assisting those fleeing further into Zaire, who fall victim to widespread massacres.

Nigeria, 1996

Nigeria, 1996 © Remco Bohle

1996: Meningitis in Nigeria

MSF launch a massive vaccination and treatment programme helping 4.5 million people.

Bosnia Hercegovina, 1995

Bosnia Hercegovina, 1995 © Olivier Jobard/Sipa Press

1995: Srebrenica Massacre

Our team witness the fall of the UN "protected zone", and denounce the subsequent massacre of up to 10,000 civilians by Serbian troops.

War in Chechnya

MSF bring aid to civilians inside the republic and in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

Rwanda, 1994

Rwanda, 1994 © Didier Assal/MSF

1994: Genocide in Rwanda

MSF remain in Kigali throughout the genocide of more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

We make an unprecedented decision to call for military intervention.

One million Rwandan refugees arrive in the small town of Goma, Zaire.

Within days, we collaborate on the biggest cholera programme to date.

Bosnia, 1992

Bosnia, 1992 © Marleen Daniels/Gamma

1993-94: War in Bosnia

Medical programmes in the region extend to the UN's supposed "protection zones" of Gorazde and Srebrenica.

Burundi, 1994.

Burundi, 1994 © MSF

1993: Civil war in Burundi

A failed coup d’état in October resulted in 750,000 refugees fleeing to neighbouring Rwanda, Tanzania and Zaire.

MSF deploy 85 volunteers in the region but delays in the international relief effort cause widespread famine in the refugee camps.

Bosnia Hercegovina, 1992

Bosnia Hercegovina, 1992 © Tom Stoddart

1992: Bosnia

MSF denounces ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

Emergency in the Horn of Africa

One hundred MSF volunteers work in the region affected by war, drought and displacement of populations.

Somalia, 1992

Somalia, 1992 © John Reardon

1991: Emergency in Somalia

MSF represents the only foreign presence in war-stricken Mogadishu, and aids refugees in other countries.

Iraq, 1992

Iraq, 1992 © John Vink

Emergency in Kurdistan

Largest emergency relief operation to date. MSF provide care in Turkey, Iran and Jordan to Kurds displaced by the Gulf War.

Former Yugoslavia

The MSF relief convoy evacuating the wounded from Vukovar hospital comes under attack. Three of our workers are wounded.

Liberia, 1991

Liberia, 1991 © Michel Buhrer/Cosmos

1990: Civil war in Liberia

Our teams provide emergency care at the height of the fighting.

Afghanistan murder

An MSF logistician is murdered in Afghanistan. Activities suspended.

Armenia, 1989

Armenia, 1989 © Roger Job

1988: Earthquake in Armenia

MSF provide medical care in the Soviet Union.

Iraq attacks Kurds. We were the first medical organisation that bore witness to the use of chemical weapons on the Kurdish town of Halabja.

Withdrawal from Sudan after an MSF plane is shot down by a missile, killing 4 people, two of them MSF volunteers.

Sri Lanka, 1987

Sri Lanka, 1987 © Didier Lefevre /

1986: Civil war in Sri Lanka

MSF organises mobile clinics and hospital programmes to treat injured and traumatised citizens in Sri Lanka.

Yemen intervention in Aden where fighting rages between rival factions of the ruling party.

Honduras, 1985

Honduras, 1985 © Jean Gaumy/Magnum

1985: Conflict in Central America

MSF provide medical care in Honduras to refugees from El Salvador and Nicaragua.

MSF expelled from Ethiopia

MSF is expelled by the government from Ethiopia after denouncing the hijacking of humanitarian aid and the forced transfers of populations by the latter.

Ethiopia, 1984

Ethiopia, 1984 © Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas images

1984: Famine in Ethiopia

MSF starts programmes to treat malnutrition in hunger-stricken regions of Ethiopia.

1981: MSF hospitals bombed

Bombardments of MSF hospitals in Afghanistan

Afghanista, 1980

Afghanistan, 1980 © MSF

1980: War in Afghanistan

After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in the final days of 1979, triggering a war that would last a decade, MSF medical teams clandestinely cross the Pakistani–Afghan border and travel by mule for several weeks to reach injured civilians living in remote areas.

Uganda,1980 © Arnaud Wildenberg/Gamma

First nutritional programme

In the Karamoja province of Uganda, MSF's first nutritional programme is launched in the midst of drought and civil war.

First international appeal

“Walk for survival of Cambodia”, MSF's first international appeal, is launched in protest against the Vietnamese authorities stopping our teams from bringing aid to Cambodia.

France, 1978

France, 1978 © Eric Bouvet/ VII Network

1979: MSF splits

Led by Dr Claude Malhuret and Dr Francis Charhon, MSF moves beyond its modus operandi of sending isolated doctors to crisis zones in favour of creating a more structured organisation that can provide quality medical services in crises.

Co-founder Dr Bernard Kouchner leaves in protest and later founds Médecins du Monde/Doctors of the World.

Sudan, 1978

Sudan, 1978 © MSF

1978: Refugee assistance

MSF launchs of various refugee programmes in Thailand, in the Ogaden region (Djibouti, war between Ethiopia and Somalia) and Eritrean refugees in Sudan.

Lebanon, 1979

Lebanon, 1979 © MSF

1976: War in Lebanon

Our teams conduct surgery in the organisation's first major intervention in a war zone.

Cambodia, 1979

Cambodia, 1979 © MSF

1975: Cambodians flee Khmer Rouge

MSF establishes its first large-scale medical programme during a refugee crisis, providing medical care for waves of Cambodians seeking sanctuary from Pol Pot’s rule.

Honduras, 1974

Honduras, 1974 © Sipa-Press

1973: Hurricane in Honduras

Our first mission of long-term medical assistance.

1972: Earthquake in Nicaragua

The earthquake in Nicaragua marks our first mission in a disaster.

France, 1971

France, 1971 © MSF

1971: MSF is founded

Médecins Sans Frontières is founded by a group of French doctors and journalists in the wake of the war and accompanying famine in Biafra, Nigeria, and the floods in eastern Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

By: Rebecca Cederholm