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Since the breakdown of peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in August 2008, fighting resumed in some parts of Mindanao Island. The sudden violence uprooted hundreds of thousands of people, who were forced to flee after seeing their homes destroyed, and many makeshift shelters began appearing in forests or by the roadside.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provided medical treatment, clean water and sanitation services to displaced people in Region XII and ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao), both located in the southern part of the archipelago.
In addition, MSF provided staff support and medicines for health centers overwhelmed by the influx of new patients. In the town of Datu Piang in ARMM, the population grew from 42,000 to 82,000 in a few months, overwhelming the local health services.
MSF teams ran mobile healthcare clinics in 10 locations for the displaced population, and carried out some 3,000 medical consultations. Most of the cases were directly related to the harsh living conditions—respiratory tract infections from sleeping outside and diarrhea from drinking contaminated water.
MSF started working in the Philippines in 2008.