King Norodom Sihamoni and government leaders joined around 20,000 people at Wat Phnom
on February 18 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC).
The golden jubilee was also used to announce donations and ask for more funds to
carry out health education work, disaster relief and to promote humanitarian values.
During the ceremony, the CRC committee thanked the government officials and businesspeople
who donated $1.9 million, but president Bun Rany said even the smallest contribution
"All these [small donations] can turn into a mountain of resource, to a sustainable
resource to help those who are more vulnerable than us and screaming for help,"
said Bun Rany, who is also the wife of Prime Minister Hun Sen
International Red Cross branches from around the world are expected to provide an
additional $2 million towards the CRC's estimated $3.6 million budget for 2005.
Last year, the CRC conducted 116 disaster response operations that benefited 146,650
people, Bun Rany said.
The CRC has more than 120,000 members, including 10,000 Red Cross youth and volunteers
and 300 staff.
Yves Sandoz, vice president of the International Committee of the Red Cross and High
Representative of the Movement of the Red Cross Red Crescent, said that humanitarian
ideals have existed in Cambodia since the days of King Jayavaraman VII and praised
the royal family's involvement with the CRC.
King Sihamoni commended the work the CRC has done and continued to do for the country's
Established in 1955, the CRC was the 85th national branch to be recognized by the
International Committee of the Red Cross and admitted as a member of the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in October 1960.
Cambodia's seat on the International Federation was left vacant in 1975 when the
Khmer Rouge took control of the country and only rejoined in 1994.
With 181 nation members in the International Federation of the Red Cross, it is the
world's largest humanitarian institution.