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World Bank urges more funds for culls in Indonesia
posted by admin on 24/08/06
(Adds health minister comments)
JAKARTA, Aug 23 (Reuters) - The World Bank called on Wednesday for more funds to compensate Indonesian farmers whose poultry is culled to contain the spread of bird flu in the sprawling archipelago.
Most donor funds are focused on preventing bird flu in humans and no resources are allocated for procurement of vaccines and compensation for farmers whose poultry is culled, said Louise F. Scura, World Development Sector Coordinator at the World Bank.
"As long as the bird flu virus is circulating in poultry, we will continue to have sporadic human cases. And to detect outbreaks in poultry, we need to have resources to vaccinate and cull," Scura said.
"Vaccinating 10 percent of your poultry isn't going to help. And we can't expect farmers to voluntarily have their chickens culled without compensation," Scura told reporters on the sidelines of a two-day donors meeting with the government to discuss bird flu.
Due to lack of funds, Indonesia can provide only 100 million of the more than 1 billion doses of poultry vaccine needed to vaccinate over 300 million backyard chicken, she said.
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.
Indonesia, which has been criticised for doing too little to stamp out H5N1, has so far refused to do mass culling of poultry, citing the expense and the logistical difficulties because of millions of backyard fowl.
Separately, Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari said migratory birds were the most likely source of bird flu cases across the country.
"It seems that the major source of bird flu still comes from migratory birds which infect local poultry which later infect humans in the area," Supari told reporters.
"That's why bird flu cases could happen in separate locations. This is the consequences of our very large country."
Indonesia, which has seen a steady rise in human bird flu deaths this year, has allocated $57.4 million in 2006 to stamp out the virus, with $35.4 to come from international assistance.
Scura said Indonesia needed $120 million to provide proper vaccination and adequate compensation for farmers, who have often rejected culling in the past due to insufficient compensation.
The government provides compensation of between 10,000 rupiah ($1.10) and 12,500 rupiah for each culled chicken. ($1 = 9,082 rupiah)
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