Cambodia’s foreign backers have signed 11 million US dollars in grants to help the impoverished country fight bird flu amid lingering fears over a global outbreak of the disease which has so far killed at least seven people here since 2003.
The grants will fund the Kingdom’s Avian and Human Influenza Preparedness Emergency Project, a three-year initiative aimed at bolstering Cambodia’s ability to deal with future outbreaks of the flu virus.
“I sincerely hope that, in close cooperation with all of the institutions concerned, the project will play an important role in minimizing the threat that (avian and human influenza) poses to human beings, as well as the poultry sector in Cambodia,” said Japan’s ambassador to Cambodia, Katsuhiro Shinohara.
Japan is one of the project’s key backers, as well as the World Bank, European Commission and eight other donors, according to a World Bank statement.
Cambodia has been praised by the United Nations for its response against bird flu outbreaks, which has been credited with sparing it from the human and poultry deaths suffered by its neighbors Thailand and Vietnam.
But health officials warn that the virus could go undetected in the countless small family farms where most of the country’s poultry are raised.