In 1975, after years of civil war, Cambodia suffered a devastating blow to its development as the Khmer Rouge took control of Phnom Penh. Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's vision for a Cambodia centered on a return to an agrarian communist society-- killing millions of intellectuals, businessmen, doctors, Buddhist leaders and foreigners and destroying infrastructure.
It is estimated that 1.5 to 2 million people--25% of the population--were killed during this time. The Khmer Rouge did not stop killing Cambodians until 1998, when Pol Pot died.
The country has struggled to recover from this period of immense destruction. Emergency services are few and inconsistent, making the growing number of vehicle accidents extremely deadly. Mothers and children suffer from inadequate emergency and preventative obstetric care.