Red Cross

The Cambodia Red Cross (CRC) is the principal humanitarian society in Cambodia. The government has designated it as an auxiliary to public bodies offering humanitarian assistance. In addition to the national headquarters, the CRC has 25 branches.1 CRC was founded in 1955 and has worked closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) ever since.2 The ICRC and the CRC joined a three-year Partnership Framework Agreement in 2016.3 Major partners of CRC include the Australian Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross, Finnish Red Cross, Red Cross Society of China, IFRC, ICRC, Danish Red Cross, and World Mate.4

Cambodian Red Cross volunteers directing traffic. Photo by Michael Stout, taken on 27 February 2010. Under the license CC BY-SA 2.0.

There are approximately 17 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers in the local communities.5 In 2014, there are over 200,000 Red Cross Members, 20,456 Red Cross Volunteers, and 29,099 Red Cross Youths.6

The CRC is involved in a variety of disaster relief, humanitarian, and development activities.7 It has aided individuals who have been afflicted by floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.8 It also encourages people at high risk of disasters to become more resilient by boosting access to food and undertaking educational initiatives. It has worked to improve water and sanitation, improving people's health in the process. With initiatives against HIV, dengue fever, and other infectious illnesses, the CRC has also worked to promote health. It has addressed socioeconomic concerns such as raising awareness about the hazards of human trafficking and enabling microloans to help people better their lives and alleviate poverty.9

Samdech Kittipribandit Bun Rany Hun Sen, Prime Minister Hun Sen's wife, has served as President of the CRC since 1998.10 Since 1994, Her Majesty Queen Mother of the Khmer Nation, Norodom Monineath Sihanouk has been as Honorary President of the CRC. Bun Rany Hun Sen has received multiple international honors for her work with the CRC to enhance the better lives of women and children, particularly in the areas of orphans, domestic safety, and vocational training for women. In 2011, she was named as a national champion for maternal and child health by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Asia Pacific Regional Director, and she received letters of commendation from UNICEF and UNAIDS.11

The CRC was a crucial player in distributing the Law on Disaster Management (2015), to ensure a better knowledge of the rights, duties, and obligations of diverse players, especially at the community level. The CRC is supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) in establishing a comprehensive systematic and applied distribution package holding three themes as the following:

  • International and regional commitment
  • Cambodia law on disaster management
  • Know your rights, roles, and responsibilities in disaster risk management.12

The CRC implemented four core areas in the Strategy Plan 2011-2020 including disaster management, health and health care in the community, promotion of movement’s fundamental principles and humanitarian values, and organizational development and resource development.13 The CRC receives the supporting funds from contributors, state funds, partners, and other sources. On the 156th CRC anniversary, the CRC receives more than $20 million in donations, which increased $2 million from the last year.14

As Cambodia's leading humanitarian organization, CRC has worked closely with the Royal Government of Cambodia and other related stakeholders to actively and effectively respond in distributing humanitarian relief to victims of all types of disasters, particularly those affected by flash floods and COVID-19.15

Humanitarian relief

Natural catastrophes such as tropical typhoons, storm surge, droughts, and flash floods have prompted significant response activities since the beginning of 2020.16 During the flash flood, immediate actions were initiated to approve emergency aids to assist the CRC branches that were badly impacted including Pursat, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Kompong Speu, and Kampong Thom.17 Those who got 100 million Riels were allowed to assist in the immediate purchase of relief items for victims. Each CRC branch has to prioritize the concept of preserving lives before assisting in the improvement of those people's living conditions in safe locations and their own homes. The CRC had delivered humanitarian aid to 111,784 households (including 27,321 families from the National Headquarters and 84,463 families from CRC's branches) in total.18

Disaster preparedness

The CRC builds community resilience to disaster and crisis with four main activities:

  • Water and sanitation: to provide safe water and sanitation in 2020, the CRC (with funds from the World Mate Foundation, the Red Cross Society of China, and CRC branch budgets) built 253 wells in 9 provinces, serving 4,737 households (20,409 people). These provinces include Kampong Speu, Battambang, Kampong Thom, Kratie, Mondulkiri, Pailin, Preah Vihear, Ratanak Kiri, and Stung Treng.
  • Non-interest microloans project: this program was implemented by the CRC headquarter and its branches with funds provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and CRC itself to help the most vulnerable people in the community including land-mine victims' families, disabled veterans' families, and veterans' families, run micro-businesses to improve their livelihoods, strengthen community resilience, and reduce risk by providing goods and cash in the amount of US$ 250 to each family. Currently, 296 households in four provinces, including Kandal, Pursat, Oddar Meanchey, and Preah Vihear, have benefited from this program.
  • Building community resilience project: this project was implemented in Phnom Sruoch District, Kampong Speu Province, to provide 179 family toilets and 3 community toilets at the commune hall, build drainage channels for 12 locations, set up 1 community boat, provide 1 mobile tent, repair 1 pond, provide 6 water-tanks at primary schools and charity houses, and place lightning prevention posters throughout the villages for 10 locations.19
  • Cambodian Red Cross youth and road safety project:20 CRC branches held 477 road safety awareness programs, with 131,921 participants, including 79,434 women and 329 individuals with disabilities, to help the Royal Government of Cambodia reduce the number of road accident fatalities and injuries, as well as improve traffic conditions for better public order in 2020.21

Response to Corona-Virus (COVID-19)

The CRC branches have strong coordination with authorities at all levels to deal with COVID-19 in the community by deploying mobile vehicles to distribute education, give posters, supply face masks, alcohol, soaps, and activities showing how to wash hands. UNICEF, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), local and international charities, and the corporate sector all contributed funds and resources to the COVID-19 mission. At least $400,000 was donated to the CRC in April 2021 to fight against COVID-19.22 In nine months, the CRC provided aids to almost 70,000 families affected by COVID-19.23 At the same time, CRC connects and reviews with its branches daily, including distance training and meetings with foreign partners through video conferences.24 In a show of solidarity, the CRC has supplied face masks and alcohol to four hospitals and health facilities, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital and the Chak Angre Health Center.25 The CRC also called for more active volunteers in fighting against COVID-19.26

Preventing communicable disease and providing first aid training

The Finnish Red Cross, the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), the Italian Red Cross (IRC), and the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) have actively participated in the implementation of numerous projects to prevent communicable disease and provide first aid training as the following:

  • Building resilience community project
  • Preventing communicable and non-communicable diseases in the community
  • The first aid training project.27

Information dissemination

The CRC makes every effort to increase, strengthen, and promote awareness of the Movement's Fundamental Principles and humanitarian values by providing training to its youths, volunteers, and members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, as well as disseminating and or broadcasting information on the four core areas through television channels and social media. Since the start of COVID-19, the broadcasting of CRC achievements in 2019 has included awareness campaigns, mainstreaming of COVID-19, and a variety of CRC activities, all of which have been done exclusively through television channels. The CRC fundraising operations in the framework of COVID-19, on the other hand, have mirrored the New Normal new strategy, both at the CRC National Head Quarter and branch levels, with the receiving of contributors and promoting their names via TV channels and social media.28

Disaster management plan of CRC 2021

The CRC developed the disaster management plan for 2021 as the following:

  • Continue to shape the ability of branch directors and sub-branch officers in the timely and effective execution of disaster risk reduction, preparedness, and recovery.
  • Continue to provide disaster management, climate change, and water and sanitation distribution mainstreaming training.
  • In disaster response operations, collaborate with key national-international partners and the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).
  • Continue to provide online training on road safety and disability inclusion to branch directors, operations employees, Red Cross Youth, and volunteers in municipalities and provinces, as well as execute road safety campaigns in urban public spaces and major roads across Cambodia.
  • Continue to successfully extend the target of ICRC-supported no-interest microloans.29

Related to Red Cross

References

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