Australia to give Indonesia US$7.5 million to help fight against bird flu

Australia will give Indonesia an additional US$7.5 million (6.2 million) to help fight bird flu in the sprawling archipelago, its foreign minister said Thursday. Alexander Downer said the money, which will boost Australia's overall contribution to US$11.6 million (9.7 million), will help Indonesia improve its response to a potential bird flu outbreak, increasing its ability to detect, diagnose and contain the virus.

The money will also be used to help raise public awareness and increase the government's information-sharing capabilities, he said.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has swept through poultry populations in many parts of Asia since 2003, jumping to humans and killing more than 60 people regionwide, including three in Indonesia, and resulting in the deaths of tens of millions of birds, reports the AP. I.L.

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