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Bangladesh seeks $100 mn to fight bird flu

The disaster-prone region will seek more than $100 million to help fight bird flu at a two-day international donors' conference in Beijing.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 15:41 IST

Disaster-prone Bangladesh will seek more than 100 million dollars to help fight bird flu at a two-day international donors' conference in Beijing, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest countries, concentrates scarce resources on cyclone and flood preparedness and officials say it is ill-equipped to fight any outbreak of bird flu.

"We are looking for over 100 million dollars in assistance to get prepared for any outbreak of avian influenza," Abdul Motalib, a director at the Department of Livestock, told the agency.

The two-day meeting, which started Tuesday, aims to raise 1.5 billion dollars to help prevent a potential bird flu pandemic.

"We have a team now in Beijing to attend the international conference and they will make the request to donors and development partners," he added.

Motalib, also a member of Bangladesh's national bird flu taskforce, said that despite a ban on poultry imports from 17 bird flu-affected nations the country was not prepared to deal with an outbreak of the disease.

The funds would be used to upgrade laboratory and other facilities, train doctors and vets and purchase protective equipment, he said.

There have so far been no reported outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in South Asia.

The virus has claimed more than 80 lives in Southeast Asia since 2003. Four children died in Turkey earlier this month.

First Published: Jan 17, 2006 15:38 IST