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At least 7 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime and the 13 years of civil war that followed. UN sponsored elections in 1993 brought some stability to the region, however, Cambodia is still burdened by decades of conflict through damage to infrastructure and unexploded landmines which continue to kill and maim civilians, despite an ongoing de-mining drive.
In terms of climate, Cambodia is particularly prone to annual flooding during the monsoon season while tropical storms, droughts and forest fires are also common. In September 1996, the flooding reached catastrophic proportions when heavy rains in China, Laos and Vietnam caused the Mekong River to rise causing serious floods. The disastrous phenomena had consecutively threatened Cambodia, and generated an even worse situation in 1999, 2000 and 2001. In 2002, Cambodia was again affected by a long dry spell severely affecting crop production. Floods in 2011 in the Mekong river basin were the worst in terms of damages in over 70 years.
The extreme weather conditions have contributed to food shortages, a loss of economic output, health contamination and consequently hunger and poverty.
Muslim Aid established its field office in Cambodia in January 2007, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Royal Government of Cambodia and also The Ministry of Rural Development. Muslim Aid is helping vulnerable communities through its education, health, economic empowerment, housing & shelter, specialist and seasonal programmes along with emergency and relief operations. It has already implemented various projects such as microfinance, livelihood improvement, skills development, water and sanitation along with sponsoring education for orphans at various locations in Cambodia.
The focus is to work with the destitute and most vulnerable women: the programmes are designed to improve their socio-economic conditions by providing an interest-free loan, skills training, and creating awareness amongst them regarding their rights.
Since 2007, Muslim Aid Cambodia worked in partnership with international agencies such as Australian Aid, Australian Red Cross and UNICEF etc. Muslim Aid Cambodia has two permanent project/branch offices in Kampong Thom and the Kampong Chham province and partner organisations (local NGO) in the provinces of Kampong Chhnang, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh city. At present there are 18 (60% female) full time staff members to manage the entire country's operations.
In 2010 we operated an emergency relief programme in Vietnam (Can Tho province) for the Typhoon affected population there.
Ongoing programmes and projects include:
• Self Help Group Development support with the funds of Aus AID through Australian Red Cross (ARC) in Cambodia for enabling women with disability in leadership and economic development.
• Post Cyclone Ketzana: A community based rehabilitation project is implemented with the support of Muslim Aid Headquarters (MAHQ).
• With the support of MAHQ Muslim Aid Cambodia office provides water well and sanitary latrine installation support along with hygiene promotion under the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme.
• By March 2012, there were 346 clients under the Microfinance programme.
• Agriculture livelihood training: A project on “Income generation for Microfinance beneficiaries through Integrated Agriculture” is being implemented for capacity building of microfinance beneficiaries.
• A project on “Recovery of water and Sanitation system devastated in flood-2011 at community level in Cambodia” is being implemented. Under the project each of 100 affected households received water filters and 102 received sanitary latrine support.