COVID-19 constitutes a new threat layer that worsened the economic conditions, food and health security in Cambodia. EU Aid Volunteers actively respond to this emergency by supporting We World interventions in Siem Reap province.
Since the start of the pandemic, thousands have lost their jobs, when former migrants were forced to return home and the tourism sector collapsed. In the first 6 months of the year 2021 over 150,000 Cambodian migrant workers returned from abroad, both through legal and illegal channels. Upon crossing the border to Cambodia, migrants undergo COVID-19 testing and are sent to quarantine centers. Many will not be able to return to Thailand, due to border and mobility restrictions. Entire families lost their only source of income.
Mrs. Pov It from Svay Pouk village returned home from Thailand, as she lost her job due to COVID19. “Now my family’s economy is not growing. I cannot find a job. I asked around to work in construction, but they only need men, not women. It is hard nowadays.”
Dreams of Mr. Voeurn Ravuth about building a house for his young family are shattered. “I planned to go to Thailand to work with my wife. But because of COVID-19 we cannot go. My hope was to make enough income to build a house.” – he says. “Before we could migrate to Thailand. Now we cannot go. I have no idea what the future brings. I have nothing. Because of COVID-19, I lost my job.”
It and Ravuth participated in the meeting organized by We World Staff in their villages. Since the start of the pandemic the NGO, together with the EU Aid Volunteers, actively supports the communities in need. The intervention focuses on migrant returnees and their families. Action consists of community needs assessment, integration of arrivals, distribution of relief food and hygiene packages, as well as capacity building training.
Watch our recently premiered short film to learn more about the fate of Cambodian migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The short film was created in the frame of RESILIACT Project funded by the EU Aid Volunteers. Among the different project objectives, the action aims to strengthen the resilience and protection of local communities in South and South-East Asia affected by issues related to food security, migration exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate adaptation of the region.
In total over 2350 people received aid in 10 communes of Puok and Chi Kreng Districts. We World staff is monitoring the situation and plans to run further distributions if the need arises.