The Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) took in combined donations of over $13 million from several companies and foreign governments – some of them controversial – during yesterday’s celebration of the worldwide Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.
Donations came from Metfone, the Piphup Thmey Microfinance company, the embassies of China and Myanmar, and Phnom Penh Municipal Hall. Union Development Group also chipped in $500,000. The firm was exposed by rights watchdogs last year for making payoffs to officials to deal with land disputes related to its huge concession in Koh Kong province.
Hun Sen reiterated his call to the CRC, all ministries and citizens to do everything they can about this year’s record drought, suggesting the CRC use the funds to make ponds and wells for communities with water shortages.
“In the past, we made normal wells but now the simple well does not work, so we have to find a new way,” said CRC secretary general Pum Channy.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Tuesday urged CRC to be more ‘‘transparent’’ to combat criticism that it distributes aid for political gain.