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June 05, 2006

US and others not following throughH5N1

Via Reuters, a disturbing story: Less than $300 mln spent on bird flu - World Bank.

Just $286 million has been spent to fight bird flu out of nearly $1.9 billion pledged last January by nations and organizations that said they wanted to make a "massive effort" against the virus, according to a World Bank report.

Only Japan, Switzerland and the Czech Republic have fully spent the money promised at a meeting of big donors in Beijing last January, according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

Africa in particular needs more money, the report said.

"Japan has fully committed its pledge in Beijing of $158 million to a range of countries and organizations at the regional and global level," the report reads. Switzerland pledged and has spent $4.7 million while the Czech Republic promised and has spent $200,000.

The report, prepared for a meeting of senior officials in Vienna on June 7, also singles out the United States, which pledged and committed $334 million, but which has spent $70.95 million. Of $500 million in loans promised by the World Bank, just $113 million has been committed and only $1.97 million sent out.

Since that meeting in January, the H5N1 avian influenza virus has spread out of Asia, across Europe and into Africa. It has not always affected commercial poultry but has killed or forced the culling of tens of millions of more birds.

ling. Why make an empty promise for the sake of a day's good headlines, and then lose the world's good will and respect when you turn out to be a deadbeat? Worse yet, it's in the interests of the US and other deadbeat nations to stamp out avian flu overseas before it reaches them.

And what about the World Bank itself? Why aren't those checks in the mail?

Posted by dymaxion at June 5, 2006 10:29 PM

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