By Lori Carlson – 3/22/2021

Opening day supplies Watbo

One year after the pandemic began, Cambodia is seeing enough community spread to start overwhelming resources. We are predicting a rough road ahead. There was an event that is now called the February 20th Incident which paralyzed Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and the whole of the south. Failure to contain it has now spread to the provinces, including Siem Reap.

Schools and public venues are ordered closed nationwide from now until further notice. There are roadblocks being put up at various places to seal off hotspots that are popping up everywhere in Siem Reap and beyond.

We do believe that school will remain closed and that we will be in serious lockdown for a good long while. We are aware of how under-resourced Siem Reap Province is compared to Phnom Penh in terms of medical care, information and governance.  Nonetheless, local High Schools are currently being converted into Quarantine Centers and Crematoriums are being built outside the city center. The Province is bracing itself and so are we. 

Our focus in the weeks ahead will be keeping our staff supported, keeping our students fed and healthy, broadcasting as many classes as we can, making mountains of library books available and keeping hygiene supplies well distributed.

Be assured we are 100% prepared for every nuance of our COVID strategy. Unlike what happened to the rest of the world, we had a year to plan for this day and have had practice executing the COVID response many times throughout the year as things have flared up and then been tamped down. 

It’s time for THE BIG PIVOT. As we move into lockdown, we are busy recreating budgets for the weeks, months ahead and reallocating funds away from what we cannot do toward these four things we can do. 

If you can help us, the time is now. 

We here at PLF have appreciated all of you so much during the last year of this madness. You’ve all been very caring. You’ve ponied up. You’ve reached out to check in on us. You’ve been flexible as things have stopped and started again and again. You’ve stood with us as we created solutions for problems we never encountered before. For all of this, there is no way to measure or explain our gratitude.

We’ve got this. We’ll keep you posted.