Mother's Heart Update: COVID-19 situation in Cambodia
The global battle against COVID-19 has raged for over a year now and is showing no signs of abating. In the light of this, we would like to share an update on the current COVID-19 situation in the country and how it is continuing to impact our work on the ground.
*** Cambodia was nearly COVID-free until an incident on February 20th caused the numbers of positive cases to sharply and rapidly increase. From a national total of around 380 mostly imported cases and no deaths, Cambodia now, May 5, has a total of 16,971 cases, 110 recorded deaths, and a daily increase in recorded Covid-19 infections numbering in the many hundreds.
Due to this alarming situation, Phnom Penh and the satellite city of Takhmau have been placed under lockdown, and, five districts of Phnom Penh have been placed under a ‘red zone’ category where there is a severe outbreak. In a red zone, citizens’ movement is fully prohibited except for medical emergencies; the government provides red zone residents with a minimal level of alimentary supplies at lower than market rates.
The rest of the population are categorised either in the orange (moderate risk of COVID-19 in the community) or yellow zones (low risk of infection). The red and orange zones remain under lockdown measures while those in the yellow zones will no longer be under lockdown, but strict administrative measures are in full effect. Despite this, the government is still struggling to contain the spread of the virus as well as to keep the population protected.
The health and safety of our staff and beneficiaries is our top priority in the face of the current COVID-19 situation. While our Battambang office is open, the staff there are working with strict safety measures and protocols in place, our office in Phnom Penh has been temporarily closed with all staff working from home since last month; our day care is also closed. All face to face interactions with beneficiaries have been temporarily suspended.
The four residents and their babies in the women’s home have been prohibited from any activities outside the shelter and are being monitored by our team regularly. At the moment, we have 19 beneficiaries who are in critical need of support with many of them living in one of the red zone areas and thus having no access to work and food. Travelling is restricted, so delivering food support has been very challenging despite our staff having the necessary permits to travel. Given the difficulties in delivering our supplies, and with the city-wide lockdown still being in effect with more districts added to the red zone list, we are looking into cash transfers instead of food deliveries.
On-going communication amongst staff and monitoring of beneficiaries is done via mobile phones and internet apps. Our only guaranteed route through locked-down areas and into red zones is via telecommunications, so we propose to temporarily shift the focus of our support efforts into transferring money through banking and cash-transfer apps. Our beneficiaries will be able to secure provisions for themselves from governmental food-trucks assigned to their red zone locality without anyone breaking any lockdown restrictions. We are opening the following donation channels for donations to our COVID-19 campaign:
For tax deductible-donations from Australian donors:
For tax-deductible donations from the UK and the USA: