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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 08:12, August 31, 2006
Indonesia to increase funds for fighting bird flu: vice president
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Indonesia, the most bird flu hard- hit country, vowed to increase budget for combating avian influenza in the country, where 46 out of 60 contracted people have died, vice President Jusuf Kalla said Wednesday.

Kalla was quoted by World Bank top official for Indonesia Andrew Steer as saying that the country would return the possibly- declined budget of 45 million U.S. dollars in 2007 to about 54 million U.S. dollars.

"Jusuf Kalla said, if it (the funds) is declining, he wants to reverse," he said after meeting with Kalla at the vice president's office.

Steer said that the decline of the budget would hamper efforts to attract donors' participation, as they would see the lower contribution of Indonesia alone.

He said he and Kalla agreed that Indonesia needs about 250 million U.S. dollars a year for combating avian influenza.

As Indonesia can only provide about 50 million U.S. dollars a year and the virus will possibly spread to other countries if Indonesia fails to combat the current pandemic H5N1 virus, Kalla has demanded more international contribution in the form of funds and expertise to check the spread of avian influenza virus.

More than 40 millions people were killed in a bird flu pandemic between 1918 and 1919, the World Health Organization said.

Indonesia has become an international concern after the discovery of the biggest cluster case of bird flu in Karo district in the country's North Sumatra province in May, that killed seven people linked by blood.

The World Bank top official said that he believed that Kalla would agree with him that in 2009, the government would pour more money in combating the H5N1 virus.

"Now there is an opportunity for Indonesia to do very well, and we want to help that," he said.

The international community has promised to disburse 60 million U.S. dollars in 2007, said Steer.

However, the Indonesian coordinating minister for people's welfare and poverty alleviation, Aburizal Bakrie, said that the figure was the maximum amount needed for the purpose, with a minimum of about 500 billion rupiah (equal to about 54 million U.S. dollars) that is allocated by Indonesia.

The minister expressed his disappointment with the promises of the international community, saying that until now most of them have not been realized, except a small amount in the form of technical assistance.

Earlier, the chairman of the Agency for Preventing Bird Flu and Preparation against Pandemics, Bayu Krisna Murthi, said that from the large promises of donors, Indonesia has only received 36 million U.S. dollars assistance through technical institutions, such as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, in the form of goods and services.

Source: Xinhua

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