European Commission Japan grant 15 mln USD to fight bird flu in Indonesia

The European Commission and the government of Japan provided 15 million U.S. dollars grant to support efforts of combating avian influenza on animal in Indonesia, an official said on Wednesday.

Chairman of the National Committee for Avian Influenza Control and Pandemic Preparedness Bayu Krisnamurthi said the fund would be used for the period of July 2007 to July 2009 and most of them would be allocated for the community-based preventive vaccination.

"The spread of avian influenza virus in Indonesia was sporadic and does not show a certain pattern, therefore the fight against bird flu must be carried out through all sectors by all levels of community," he said.

The chairman said the funds was donated from the Avian and Human Influenza Facility (AHIF) European Commission and Policy and Human Resources development (PHRD) government of Japan.

Among the other allocations of the funds were improving the culling compensation system, and the participatory animal disease surveillance and response, he said.

Krisnamurthi said that 2.5 million of the funds will be used for the compensation program and 5.7 million U.S. dollars for the community-based vaccination program.

Indonesia needs about 70 million U.S. dollar per year to combat bird flu on animal, according to the chairman.

Japanese embassy official in Jakarta Ken Okaniwa said that Indonesia was the highest priority country in Asia to fight against avian influenza.

Indonesia has been hit, the hardest, by H5N1 virus that reaches 79 fatalities of 99 infected people.

Musny Suatmodjo a director of animal health of the Indonesian Agriculture Ministry said that Indonesia planned to rise up compensation for a chicken slaughtered from 12.500 (some 1.25 U.S. dollar) to 15,000 rupiah (some 1.5 U.S. dollars) next year.

The total fund provided from the state budget would increase from 240,000 U.S. dollars this year to 400,000 U.S. dollars next year, he said.

Experts fear millions of people could be killed should the virus mutate to a certain level that is transmittable among humans.

Indonesian health authorities have vaccinate tens of millions of chickens in the vast archipelago country, but the virus still exists.

Back-yard farm and huge territory have been blamed for the difficulty to halt the spread of the avian influenza viruses.

Over 32 millions families engage in back-yard farm in Indonesia.

Source: Xinhua