Asian Development Bank transfers $11 million to regional partners in bird flu fight
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has disbursed more than $11 million
to partner agencies - ASEAN, FAO and WHO - to counter the immediate threat posed
by avian influenza in the Asia and Pacific region.
The funds are from ADB's $38
million regional project for Prevention and Control
of Avian Influenza announced in March. The project aims to strengthen
regional capacity and facilitate regional cooperation to prevent or rapidly
control avian flu outbreaks among birds and to help countries manage cases of
human influenza caused by the H5N1 virus.
The project will also help
prepare the region for a possible pandemic by supporting regional interagency
collaboration, regional cooperation in sharing information, and strengthening
regional networks. To date, some $99,000 has been transferred to the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations, $2.59 million to the UN
Food and Agriculture Organisation, and $8.4 million to the World Health
ADB has pledged about $470 million in possible
assistance on bird flu. Of this, about $100 million could be derived from
reallocations from existing loans, while some $300 million could be made
available in new loans, if requested by affected countries, complementing World
Bank and other donors' resources.
The potential impact of a flu
pandemic would be substantial and could cripple economic growth and poverty
reduction across the world. Based on WHO best-case estimates that up to 7
million people could die worldwide, a pandemic would cost Asia $297 billion in
one year and throw the world into recession, according to a recent ADB study.
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