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World Bank urges Indonesia to raise bird flu budget JAKARTA - The World Bank urged the Indonesian government on Thursday to increase its budget for the bird flu programme, saying the virus was a severe threat to the country's economy and the health of its people. Indonesia, which has been criticised for not doing enough to stamp out the H5N1 virus, plans to spend $46.45 million for bird flu control in 2007, down from $57.37 million allocated for this year.

"We need to express some concern that the government's budget is declining and we would recommend against that," Andrew Steer, the World Bank's Indonesia country director, told a news conference. "It's a good idea to increase spending rather than to cut it. The threat to Indonesia's health is very severe. In addition, the threat to the economy is quite severe," he said, adding international investors have been cautious about coming to the country because of the spread of bird flu.

The H5N1 virus is endemic in poultry in nearly all Indonesian provinces, where 46 people have died of the virus. While bird flu remains essentially an animal disease, experts fear it could mutate into a form that passes easily among humans. Bayu Krisnamurthi, head of the National Committee for Avian Influenza Control and Pandemic Preparedness, said the lower funds for bird flu in 2007 were due to substantial allocations for reconstruction in disaster-struck regions and education.

Indonesia has been hit by a string of natural disasters this year, including a massive earthquake in Yogyakarta in May and a tsunami in West Java's Pangandaran beach resort area that killed over 600 people in July. Steer said the H5N1 virus could hurt the tourism sector which is still struggling to repair its image after a string of bomb attacks and natural disasters.

While pledging support for Indonesia's fight against the virus, Steer said international donors were not willing to compensate for the decline in the government's budget for 2007. Indonesia has so far refused to do mass culling of poultry, citing the expense and the logistical difficulties because of millions of backyard fowl. The World Bank said on Wednesday Indonesia needs $120 million to carry out proper vaccination and to give adequate compensation to farmers whose poultry is culled.


Link to related event Related event:
Bird flu in Indonesia

Related blog entries (category 'Bird Flu') Related blog entries (category 'Bird Flu'):
24 August 2006 · WHO confirms 60th bird flu case, urges sequence sharing
22 August 2006 · Bekasi girl tests positive for bird flu-official
21 August 2006 · Indonesia plays down likelihood of bird flu cluster
09 August 2006 · Indonesian boy has bird flu, local tests
24 July 2006 · Indonesia faces obstacles in eradicating bird flu


Posted in Bird Flu @ 24 August 2006 13:52 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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