Thursday, May 11, 2006


From : "A UN crisis management center to coordinate international efforts against the spread of bird flu will be opened within a month, a top official with the US Agriculture Department said Monday,” reports The Associated Press.

The center at the Rome-base Food and Agriculture Organization will dispatch response teams to countries where bird flu is detected in animals and will channel aid, experts and equipment to areas where they are most needed, said Ron DeHaven, administrator of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The department, together with the US.Agency for International Development, has allocated $4.2 million to help get the center going. The Americans were urging other countries to pitch in, DeHaven said after talks with UN officials and government representatives from around the globe.

“It will take eight months for the center to be fully operational, employing 40-50 people and with a projected 3-year budget of $28 million, DeHaven said. Creating the management center is a key step in combating bird flu in animals and is the best way to reduce the risk of the deadly H5N1 strain mutating into a form capable of causing a human flu pandemic, he said. …

“FAO's crisis center will keep a list of world experts on animal health, dispatching them to breakout areas to help local officials decide what measures to take, such as culling or vaccination of poultry. Financial aid for the fight against the virus is expected to come from the $1.9 billion pledged at a Beijing donors conference in January. …”

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