Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Malaysia meeting on bird flu issues urgent call for chicken feed

The bird flu movers and shakers are meeting in Malaysia and again calling for more money to help the embattled region manage its chronically infected poultry industry. The number mentioned is the same as the last time they met (February): about $100 million over three years.
FAO chief Joseph Domenech estimated that Asia needed about $100 million between now and 2008 to contain bird flu but donors such as the United States, European Union and Australia have only pledged a total of less than $30 million.

He said E.U. members had committed a further 50 million Euros, but for between 2007 and 2011.

"We are talking to them to see how we can bring additional funds in immediately, particularly to Vietnam," Domenech said. "This is an international crisis, there is a lot more investment needed and donor governments are not doing enough." (Reuters)
The US is spending $177 million dollars a day to prosecute the war on Iraq, so the total amount for three years in Asia is spent by just past 1:30 p.m. in a single day of that dreary debacle. In fact the daily expenditure of the US in Iraq is 100,000 times the estimated daily cost of coping with bird flu in all of Asia. Even worse, the US and its Iraq war confederate Australia plus the entire EU have pledged less than a third of that.

The $100 million is not likely enough, as WHO's Peter Cordingly admitted:
"It won't be [billions] but it will be much more than what we thought was necessary last year."

Experts say the money should be used to tackle the two main transmission areas, south-east Asia's backyard farms and wet markets, where hens, ducks, pigs and other animals regularly mingle with each other and humans. (The Guardian)
Obviously not enough. It is literally and figuratively, chicken feed.

Arithmetic Correction: roelmeijer points out (comments) an arithmetic error on my part. Daily share over 3 years of $100,000,000 is $91,324. This is "only" 1/2000 of the current daily expenditure in Iraq of $177 million. The point is still made but I can't deny that a fifty fold error is not exactly "chicken feed" (as errors go)! Apologies all around and thanks to the alert reader.