MERCY Malaysia was founded by Dr Jemilah Mahmood in 1999 in response to the conflict in Kosova. Finding no pre-existing organization that could sponsor her to volunteer her medical services there, she and a group of friends registered MERCY Malaysia with the Registrar of Societies with the objective of providing medical relief. Working with Helping Hands USA, MERCY Malaysia then sent a total of five missions to Kosova to provide mobile medical care. That same year, MERCY Malaysia sent relief teams to Turkey in response to the 1999 İzmit earthquake.
In 2000, MERCY Malaysia provided medical assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs) due to conflict in Maluku, Indonesia.
The year after saw the organization responding to the medical needs of the survivors of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. Later in 2001, MERCY Malaysia responded to the survivors of the Cambodia floods in Kampong Cham. In October 2001, the organization sent a team to Afghanistan to serve the IDPs at refugee camps.
In 2002, MERCY Malaysia continued to deliver more medical relief and grew its operations along the way. The organization continued its presence in Kabul, and later expanded its operations in Afghanistan to run the only medical centre in Spin Buldak, an area located approximately 100km away from Kandahar. MERCY Malaysia then launched the Cambodia Relief Fund to continue to support the relief efforts due to the flooding in Mekong. The organization also began to receive more recognition and significant fundraising and donations from external parties as it responded to the needs in Palestine. In 2003, MERCY Malaysia responded to the needs in Baghdad, Iraq and sent its first team in January. In February, MERCY Malaysia launched its China Humanitarian Fund and sent a team in response to the 6.8-magnitude earthquake which struck a remote area of Xinjiang province in northwest China, near the border with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In April 2003, the MERCY Malaysia team were mistaken for hostile forces and was attacked in Iraq, where Dr Baba Deni and Dr Jemilah were both injured in the incident. May 2003 saw MERCY Malaysia responding to international appeal from Sri Lanka after the republic suffered its worst floods and landslides in 60 years. The six-person team was deployed to southern Sri Lanka to render critical medical and humanitarian aid to flood and landslide victims in Ratnapura, located about 100km south-east of Colombo. The year closed with another mission sent to Kerman, Iran following the Bam earthquake which occurred on December 26, 2003. The nine-person team -including Dr Bubble, a hospital clown doctor- provided medical and psycho-social support to the earthquake survivors, and was stationed at the former Italian Field Hospital in Baravat, 5km from Bam.
In the early part of 2004, MERCY Malaysia continued its work in the conflict zones, and launched a fundraising campaign in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of Malaysia to provide schoolbags for children in war-torn countries like Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.
For Iraq in particular, MERCY Malaysia allocated RM1 million in medical and humanitarian aid, and collaborated with Islamic Relief to transport three trucks of humanitarian aid to Falluja.
MERCY Malaysia then responded to North Korea's appeal for international aid following the train collision and explosion in Ryongchon., where the three-person team brought along medical supplies worth RM50,000.
In 2004, the organization started gaining more recognition for its humanitarian work, receiving five nominations for the NSTP-PwC Young Humanitarian Award, and in July, Dr Jemilah Mahmood was appointed the first president of National Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations for Disaster Relief Malaysia (NFNDRM).
In the same month, MERCY Malaysia responded to a request from the United Nations (UN) agencies to lend medical assistance to the IDPs in Sudan. After the...