In 2022, the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) helped ease the burdens of 73,134 of the Kingdom’s most vulnerable households, according to its latest annual report released on December 26. In addition, it built 104 houses and provided vocational training and education to hundreds of thousands of other families.

Men Neary Sopheak, first deputy secretary-general of the CRC, unveiled the 2022 summary, which highlighted the assistance of King Norodom Sihamoni, Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk – who is also honorary president of the CRC – and other philanthropists from all walks of life.

These charitable activities have helped the CRC – at both the central level and through its capital-provincial branches – fund their humanitarian operations.

“The CRC is focused on four key priority areas for its 2021-2030 strategy. The four targets are disaster and climate change management, public health and community healthcare, fundamental principle and humanitarian value promotion and institutional development.

“We provided food to flood victims and helped repair homes that were damaged by storms,” said the report.

In order to reduce the risk of climate change, CRC president Bun Rany led activities including the planting of more than 1,200 trees at the Buddhist Cultural Centre of Cambodia.

The capital-provincial branches of the CRC also planted a total of 5,375 trees in public places and educational institutions, including 2,000 mangrove trees along the Sang Sneh canal in Ta Nei commune of Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nob district.

Neary Sopheak said the CRC also launched a series of road safety campaigns during the major holidays of Khmer New year, Pchum Ben and the Water Festival. The awareness campaigns were designed to reduce casualties on the Kingdom’s roads during these busy periods.

“We conducted 577 educational campaigns in 2022, not only on road safety but on child protection and the rights of people with disabilities. In addition, we built new facilities and improved access for 1,353 persons with disabilities,” she added.

In health and community healthcare, the CRC made its 11th significant contribution to the Kantha Bopha Foundation of Cambodia, gifting $1 million to support Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital. It also donated $50,000 to the Angkor Hospital for Children.

She said CRC teams visited 3,474 new mothers and gifted them donation packs. A total of 21,726 women participated in CRC outreach programmes, and 3,145 households with HIV/AIDS received financial aid.

The CRC also accepted a second donation of 300,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses from the Chinese National Red Cross Society, which were handed to the Ministry of Health to support its “highly successful” vaccination campaign.

“It is also noteworthy that in 2022, the CRC resumed bilateral cooperation with the Finnish Red Cross, through a project which focuses on pandemic prevention and awareness building of mental health into health work and community healthcare,” added Neary Sopheak.

As part of the promotion of its humanitarian values, the CRC provided $2 million to the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), which will use the funds to conduct operations through the Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action (STP-MA), which was established with the theme “Providing Safe Ground, Creating Smiles”.

The CRC continued to educate people about the dangers of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), reaching 17,779 people, including 6,759 children – an increase of 39 per cent over 2021.

Bun Rany also approved the expansion of a loan scheme to veterans and families living in high-risk areas, in order to improve their livelihoods, with 150 households in Preah Vihear province and 150 others in Oddar Meanchey benefiting from the expansion.

Ouk Maly, treasurer-general of the CRC, discussed the 2022 revenue and expenditure report of the organisation.

“The approved priority expenditure budget for 2023 – which is not reliant on funds received from philanthropists – increased by 4.29 per cent over 2022. It will also strengthen auditing further to ensure the trust of donors,” she said.

“The CRC is committed to continuing to assist to public institutions. In particular, we intend to strengthen community education about the importance of Covid-19 preventive measures including the three dos and three don’ts. They will play a crucial part in the Kingdom’s post-pandemic recovery,” she added.

Following the meeting, Bun Rany presented medals to 16 CRC retirees.

“These CRC veterans have made large contributions to the work we have done. They should all have fond memories of their service. They travelled difficult roads and even crossed minefields in some of the most remote corners of the Kingdom, to bring succour to the unfortunate,” she said.