Australia offers compensation for bird flu hit Indonesian poultry farmers

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Government has offered to set up a compensation scheme for Indonesian poultry farmers hit by bird flu, according to the country's Health Minister Tony Abbott. The government feels that a lack of such a compensation scheme is hindering the efforts to fight bird flu in Indonesia.

Mr Abbott discussed this initiative with his Indonesian counterpart and signed a $10 million agreement to help Indonesia's battle with bird flu. He is on a four-nation "bird-flu tour", that included stops at Shanghai and Tokyo where he was informed by World Health Organisation regional director Shigeru Omi that the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain had mutated.

This information was "very sobering" news, Mr Abbott felt. "The more sub-types, the more possible it is for evolution into a strain transmissible easily from human to human." The Japanese researchers also told him that "a pandemic is more likely now than it was."

But the good news in the midst of all the gloom in bird flu was that Vietnam and Thailand had not reported a single case of bird flu for some months now and had succeeded in quelling the immediate danger though sensible methods like culling, vaccination and quarantine.

Indonesia though continued to be a worry because the country has reported more bird flu deaths this year since January. Last week, the WHO confirmed that human transmission had occurred in the bird flu cluster involving seven members of the same family.

calendar icon 26 June 2006
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