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Japan offers $230M in Covid materials

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Japanese Ambassador Mikami Masahiro says the aid will provide needed emergency and health equipment. Japanese Embassy

Japan offers $230M in Covid materials

The Japanese government has provided grants and concessional loans to Cambodia totalling nearly $230 million to purchase security vehicles for major events and to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

In a November 6 press release, the Japanese embassy said the financing was in response to a request from the Cambodian government. Japan decided to extend its ODA Grant Aid to 300 million yen ($2.9 million), and its concessional loan to 25 billion yen.

According to the press release, the Grant Aid for the “Economic and Social Development Programme” provides funds for the Ministry of Interior’s National Police and the General Department of Immigration for the procurement of equipment.

“This cooperation aims to strengthen the capacity of those institutions by providing equipment. The equipment will include vehicles for security use, such as the guarding of important persons, and X-ray inspection machines for use at borders. It is expected this equipment will help ensure that large-scale events, such as upcoming international conferences, will be held safely and run smoothly.

“The emergency support loan is intended to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, maintain and activate economic and social activities that will help to protect the economy, and preserve social protection. This concessional loan is in addition to the grant of more than ¥5 billion for the rehabilitation of Siem Reap [Provincial] Referral Hospital, medical equipment across the country, and technical assistance,” it said.

The press release was issued after an official signing ceremony between Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn and Japanese ambassador Mikami Masahiro.

National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun said the Japanese government would provide equipment such as security vehicles and convoys to protect delegates at large-scale events as well as international conferences ahead.

“I do not remember the exact amount of equipment, but about 20 cars. All the materials and vehicles will arrive in Cambodia in the middle of 2021,” he said.

Kim Khoeun said the equipment and vehicles will make up for the shortage of the National Police forces before national holidays, international conferences and the summit that Cambodia will host.

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Sunday the Ministry of Health has good cooperation with Japan, which has helped build health infrastructure in Phnom Penh and provinces such as Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng and Preah Sihanouk.

“In recent years, the ministry has asked Japan through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to help repair and rebuild the Siem Reap Referral Hospital. Japan’s decision will improve the capacity of hospitals to better meet the needs of the general population,” she said.

Vandine said there are now more patients there than the number of beds and the building itself is dilapidated. Siem Reap Referral Hospital is also active in providing medical examinations and treatment services to the people, especially the examination and treatment of Covid-19 as well as the testing of Covid-19 with high efficiency and responsibility, she said.

Siem Reap provincial health department director Kros Sarath said the health sector gains benefits from the Japanese grant, including medical materials and facilities.

“I have made this request for many years. The money will help improve the health sector in Siem Reap a lot because we get building and medical material,” he said.

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