03 Feb 2004 -- Bangkok – Cambodia, Laos, Pakistan and Viet Nam will receive emergency assistance from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in support of their battle against the virulent avian flu virus.
The emergency aid package, requested by the four countries, amounts to a total of $1.6 million, FAO said in a statement today.
Poorer countries often lack the necessary expertise and technical means to handle a crisis of such a dimension and are in need of international assistance, FAO said.
FAO will support the four countries in their immediate efforts to control the avian flu outbreak in all poultry species and stop the transmission of the virus to humans.
“These projects are seed money for immediate help,” said He Changchui, head of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. “More international assistance is needed to enable poorer countries to better deal with the crisis.”
The FAO funded assistance will help countries to step up their emergency disease control and surveillance systems. Activities include the preparation of a zoning plan for culling; training of farmers and government workers on safe disposal and disinfection; rapid diagnosis; and laying the groundwork for national epidemiological studies of the disease.
Besides this technical assistance aimed at capacity building in animal health units at central and provincial levels, the projects will provide inputs such as protective gear and equipment for safe culling; laboratory supplies and equipment for rapid diagnosis.
As a result, countries will be in a better position to rapidly control and eradicate bird flu outbreaks, FAO said. Animal health services, farmers and consumers will have a better awareness of the disease and will know better how to apply safe control measures. Diagnostic laboratories will be improved and a national surveillance action plan will be finally prepared to quickly deal with potential new outbreaks.
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