The only organisation working solely with acid-attack survivors will further scale down its operations in Cambodia and cut several of its services from today.
Citing an 83 per cent fall in acid attack victims since 2010, the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) will cut its legal unit, social work activities, its acid burns survivors support group and Bags by Acid Burns Survivors program.
The cuts – which will also see the NGO lose its office staff – are the latest round of downsizing, which started this year.
In April, the Post reported CASC had scaled back its services by 75 per cent.
Speaking at the Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC) on her last day working with CASC, program manager Erin Bourgois said the organisation would continue to fund operations for acid-attack victims at the surgical centre.
CASC’s Phnom Penh shelter for survivors and their children will also stay open, she said.
“Acid attacks have been decreasing, but even one is too many,” Bourgois said.
Lying in bed yesterday at the CSC, Moung Srey Mom was one of 2014’s six acid-attack victims, having been doused in November by a trader at Tunlob Market, in Takeo province’s Kiri Vong district, where she and her husband also own a store.
“I feel helpless; I never thought I would be like this,” Srey Mom, who suffered a miscarriage after the attack, said.
“My heart is broken; I want the attacker to give back my body, my face and my baby.”
With burns to 44 per cent of her body, the 31-year-old has undergone two operations since the attack and is to undergo surgery again on Friday.
Although under the Acid Law passed in 2012 the government is responsible for providing treatment and rehabilitation services to acid-burn victims, Srey Mom’s bills have been paid entirely by CASC.
Bourgois said the government had not taken any steps or signalled that it would increase support for survivors since CASC announced its downsizing in April.
She said CASC could scale up its services if acid attacks increased.