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A new strategic partnership to assist returning Cambodian migrants from Thailand

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IOM and KOICA Cambodia delegates after the signing ceremony. Photo supplied

A Memorandum of Understanding to provide immediate health assistance to returning migrants from Thailand was inked in Phnom Penh Friday by Ms. Kristin Parco, IOM Cambodia Chief of Mission and Mr. Hyunjun Rho, Country Director of KOICA Cambodia.

This new partnership aims specifically to protect returning migrants and host communities from the risk of a large-scale COVID-19 transmission through improved COVID-19 screening and prevention.

Over 110,000 migrants have returned to Cambodia since March 2020 following the business closures and job losses in Thailand and neighbouring countries. IOM Cambodia has been supporting the returning migrants at the border crossings, in the quarantine centers and in their home provinces.

Now, with KOICA’s support, IOM Cambodia will continue to provide COVID-19 prevention information to migrants and their host communities, improve the efficiency of COVID-19 specimen collection in the provinces and provide essential food and hygiene packages to migrants under quarantine.

Ms. Kristin Parco commented: ‘’The support from KOICA will address the immediate needs of returning migrants and communities from point of entry to quarantine centers and areas of return. Joint efforts and cooperation such as with KOICA and the Royal Government of Cambodia are vital to strengthening national and local preparedness and response capacities and mechanisms in this pandemic crisis.’’

Echoing this support, Mr. Hyunjun Rho said “Based on the partnership between KOICA and IOM with the Royal Government, I believe Cambodia will combat COVID-19 successfully. The Republic of Korea is proud to be a partner and friend of Cambodia, as well as IOM, to the benefit of all Cambodians. KOICA is looking forward to advancing sustainable development in Cambodia through this friendly and substantive cooperation.’’

The program will initially run until December 2020 and will be implemented in the provinces of Bantey Meanchey, Siem Reap, Battambang, Oddar Meanchey and Prey Veng, where the largest numbers of returning international migrants reside. At least 100,000 migrants and community members are expected to benefit from this program.

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