The National Blood Transfusion Centre (NBTC) has warned that blood stocks for use by potential victims of accidents during the Khmer New Year period are “only at 50 per cent” capacity, according to its top official.

The Ministry of Health said it was seeking to prepare and distribute “about 1,000” bags of blood among the country’s hospitals for emergency use by victims of traffic and other accidents during the upcoming New Year holiday. However, there are only 500 bags of blood in stock at the moment, according to NBTC director Sok Po.

Po told The Post that the removal of celebration restrictions for Khmer New Year after a two-year suspension means that more people will travel on the roads to visit relatives in their provincial hometowns, or visit more destinations than in previous years, both of which will inevitably lead to more accidents on the road.

Accordingly, a higher than normal supply is required in the national blood bank to ensure adequate treatment for the increased number of accident victims.

In order to curb the shortfall, the NBTC said it is planning to hold a blood donation drive on April 8. The day-long event will be held at Calmette Hospital from 9am to 4pm.

Po said the blood donated at this event will be distributed to hospitals across the country, with 500 bags to be provided to Phnom Penh area medical facilities, and 100 bags to be delivered to Battambang, Siem Reap, Takeo and Kampong Cham, which have their own provincial blood banks.

Other provinces have prepared about 20 bags of blood at their provincial hospitals. In case of high demand, Po said, all provincial hospitals can request more supply of blood from facilities in populous provinces or directly from the NBTC.

Meanwhile, he called on those who are able to donate blood on April 8 to do so based on the “spirit of unity and humanitarianism” to help save the lives of potential victims.

“Blood cannot be produced in factories, pharmaceutical enterprises or any scientific technical institution,” Po said. “The survival of victims depends on donations [of blood] from healthy people.”

He also reminded Cambodians to be more aware of travel safety, and to ensure that they comply with traffic laws to reduce the rate of traffic accidents.

A National Police report on April 4 showed that traffic accidents across the country that day left 15 people dead and 11 with serious and minor injuries, the highest daily number of casualties since the government announced the reopening of the country in mid-November.

Cambodia’s blood supply requirement to ensure all patients in the Kingdom receive adequate care has recently increased from 250 to 300 sacks per month. At the moment, donations count for only 10 per cent of that figure, according to the NBTC report.