The war in the 1970s and the terror of the Khmer in the
aftermath severely hampered the country's economic and
social development. The Khmer target was to cleanse the
country of "harmful Western influence". The cities were
depleted, the residents displaced, the infrastructure
decayed and people with education - teachers, doctors,
engineers, intellectuals - systematically murdered. Nearly
half the population lived in extreme poverty as late as
1994. In 2007, over 25 percent of the population was
extremely poor and lived on the equivalent of less than one
US dollar a day. Cambodia was then one of the world's five
poorest countries in the world, calculated by the proportion
of very poor.
The majority of the population lives in the countryside
and many villages still lack road connections, at least
during the rainy season. Self-management without secure
monetary income is common among the peasants and therefore
they cannot pay for more comprehensive healthcare. They must
then sell land or pets or borrow money at an interest rate.
Many people resort to state healthcare only when the
situation has become really serious; otherwise they visit
simple, private health care, pharmacies or villagers who
practice traditional medicine. The vast majority of women
give birth to children at home, usually without the help of
an educated midwife.
It is common that rural hospitals do not have access to
electricity and many smaller hospitals lack, for example.
laboratory equipment. The most serious is the lack of
trained healthcare personnel. Wages are low and most people
want to stay in the metropolitan area where health care has
better quality. There are also private clinics and doctors
with good education. The large shortage of midwives is
reflected in maternal mortality associated with pregnancy
and childbirth, 54 cases per 10,000 live births (2005),
among the highest numbers in the world. In the mid-1990s,
there were 16 doctors per 100,000 residents. The average for
the countries in Southeast Asia was nine times higher.
According to estimates in 2005, almost 80 percent of the
urban population lived in slums. Access to clean water has
improved during the 1990s, but still in 2008 only 56 per
cent of rural households and 81 per cent were in urban
areas. Access to toilets and drains was even worse. There
were only 18 per cent of rural households and 67 per cent in
urban areas. Other important causes of the high mortality
rate are that 25 percent of the population (2008) is
malnourished, mainly younger children and women. In 2007,
HIV/AIDS was among 0.8 per thousand of all people aged
15-49, the highest number in East and Southeast Asia after
Thailand. Deaths due to pneumonia and tuberculosis are more
common than elsewhere in the region, and the proportion
amputated after a landmine detonated is highest in the
Most of the health care must be covered by aid. Employees
and entrepreneurs have a social insurance system based on
many years of payments. This includes pension paid from the
age of 55 and sickness and occupational injury insurance.
About 3/4 of the population has jobs that provide low and
uncertain income, and the vast majority of them cannot pay
insurance premiums. Women traditionally have low economic
and social standing. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of KHM and acronym for Cambodia.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital; 2.2 million residents (2011). Phnom Penh is
located on the mouth of the river Tonle Sap in Mekong. South of the city, Mekong
splits into two on its way to its delta; hence the area's old name Chattumuk
'the four rivers'. It is an important trading town, and from the river port
there is north to Lake Tonle Sap and south to Vietnam and the South China Sea.
Ethnic groups such as Malays, Chinese, Indonesians and Vietnamese have played a
significant role in the city's history, making it a regional center of trade and
power. The Old Town is the center of the Great Market and the many temples.
Under the French colonial rule of the 1860's, the city was built with wide
boulevards, administration buildings, a national museum and library as well as
educational institutions, hotels and large villas. The imperial palace was built
in 1866 and the silver pagoda near the palace erected in 1892.
Phnom Penh is characterized by smaller industries, especially rice mills, and
retail. Rice, cotton, rubber, dried fish and gems are important commodities, and
in the 1990's, the city has also attracted investment from wealthier Asian
countries. A clothing industry is growing rapidly in the late 1990's. Unlike
neighboring Vietnam, actual development after the 1900-ts wars has barely
started. However, the city is experiencing a growing interest from the tourists,
who among other things. can see the remains of the Pol Pot era barbaric in a
small museum. There are indications that the city has become a prime destination
for pedophiles and other sex tourists.
After Siam's conquest of Angkor in 1431, the capital of the Angkor kingdom
was moved to the Phnom Penh area. The location was temporary, however, and the
city became a.k.a. burned to the ground by the Siamese in 1772. It was not until
1866 that Phnom Penh again became the capital of Cambodia in the newly conquered
French colony. During the Indochina War (1946-54) and the Civil War in the
1970's, Phnom Penh grew due to refugee flows from rural areas from approximately 500,000 to
approximately 2 million In the Khmer Rouge takeover of power in 1975, the city was
evacuated, many buildings destroyed, and only a few functions maintained. When
the Vietnamese entered the city in 1979, it was slowly re-populated.