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Avian flu: FAO provides $1.6 million in emergency aid to four Asian countries
Veterinary experts meeting at FAO headquarters in Rome
Bangkok, 3 February 2004 - Cambodia, Laos, Pakistan and Viet Nam will receive emergency assistance from 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 prepared to deal quickly with potential new outbreaks.

A joint FAO/OIE/WHO emergency meeting on avian influenza begins today at FAO headquarters in Rome. The two-day meeting will set policies and strategies for controlling the disease and develop action plans to address the animal as well as public health concerns in each affected country.

Participants include top veterinary experts from some 14 countries. Several chief veterinary officers from Asian countries will participate via teleconference.




Contacts:

Erwin Northoff
FAO Information Officer
erwin.northoff@fao.org
Mobile in Bangkok:
(+39) 348 2523 616

Diderik de Vleeschauwer
FAO Information Officer
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
diderik.devleeschauwer@fao.org
Telephone in Bangkok:
(+66) 2 697 4126

For more information on the Rome meeting, contact:

Stephanie Holmes
FAO Information Officer
stephanie.holmes@fao.org
(+39) 06 570 56350

Contact:

Erwin Northoff
FAO Information Officer
erwin.northoff@fao.org
Mobile in Bangkok:
(+39) 348 2523 616

Diderik de Vleeschauwer
FAO Information Officer
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
diderik.devleeschauwer@fao.org
Telephone in Bangkok:
(+66) 2 697 4126

Stephanie Holmes
FAO Information Officer
stephanie.holmes@fao.org
(+39) 06 570 56350

FAO/A. Vitale

More international assistance needed to help poorer countries deal with the crisis.

Audio

Radio interview with
Mr. Joseph Domenech,
Chief, Animal Health Service (Division of Animal Production and Health, FAO)
(ram)

Radio interview with
Mr. Joseph Domenech,
Chief, Animal Health Service (Division of Animal Production and Health, FAO)
(mp3)

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Avian flu: FAO provides $1.6 million in emergency aid to four Asian countries
Veterinary experts meeting at FAO headquarters in Rome
3 February 2004 - Cambodia, Laos, Pakistan and Viet Nam will receive $1.6 million in emergency assistance from FAO in support of their battle against the virulent avian flu virus.
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