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Thread: South Pacific unites to fight bird flu, terror

  1. #1
    Administrator Crazy Pellas's Avatar
    Join Date
    25 Nov 2004
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Default South Pacific unites to fight bird flu, terror

    27 Oct 2005 05:47:24 GMT
    By Michael Perry

    PORT MORESBY, Oct 27 (Reuters) - South Pacific leaders ended a two-day summit on Thursday with a plan to pool resources to combat bird flu and terrorism, fight corruption and bolster economic development.

    Under the "Pacific Plan", Australia, the largest member of the 16-nation Pacific Forum, will contribute A$8.0 million ($6 million) to tackle possible outbreaks of bird flu in nations like Papua New Guinea.

    Papua New Guinea shares a border with Indonesia, where four people have died of avian flu along with millions of chickens and other birds. Over 80 percent of its population lives in villages in close proximity with poultry and other animals.

    Health services in Papua New Guinea's remote jungle villages are scarce and unreliable and a major avian flu outbreak there could easily spread to Australia, just a boat ride south.

    In their final statement the leaders called for "urgent concerted action" to mobilise resources to immediately develop both regional and national bird flu pandemic plans.

    "All countries are to some extent vulnerable and the stronger public health arrangements people have, the better they are. We think there are things we can do to help," Australian Prime Minister John Howard said in the PNG capital, Port Moresby.

    "That is why we have made available A$8.0 million to strengthen the situation," he said.

    More than 60 people have died of bird flu in Southeast Asia since 2003, while tens of millions of birds have died of infection or have been culled. The H5N1 strain of bird flu has reached as far as Russia, Turkey and Romania.

    Bird flu can be caught by people after prolonged and close contact with infected birds. Scientists fear it may eventually mutate into a strain that can be passed between people, triggering a lethal pandemic around the world.


    The Pacific Forum members range from Australia, with a population of 20 million, to tiny Niue, which has fewer than 2,000 people.

    Excluding Australia and New Zealand, the small Pacific nations represent more than 500 inhabited islands, spread over 30 million sq km (11.6 million sq miles), with over 1,000 languages.

    The "Pacific Plan" seeks to build regional cooperation in areas such as security, aviation and trade over the next decade.

    Australia has long feared instability in the islands on its doorstep could provide a haven for terrorist groups and has implemented an interventionist policy of sending police and troops to quell uprisings and restore law and order.

    Fiji alone has had three coups and an army mutiny since 1987, the Solomon Islands was on the brink of collapse due to ethnic fighting in the 1990s and Papua New Guinea has fought a secessionist rebellion on one of its islands and seen its army rebel when the government brought in South African mercenaries.

    The Pacific leaders said "the region remains vulnerable to activities of transnational organised criminal groups and terrorist organisations".

    The island nations will stage a counter-terrorism exercise called "Ready Pasifika" in Fiji's capital, Suva, in November.

    Iain Meddicks
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  2. #2
    x marks the spot EXODUS's Avatar
    Join Date
    30 Nov 2004

    Default Re: South Pacific unites to fight bird flu, terror

    it's probably just my paranoia talking, but wouldn't this be a great reason to start cloning animals for food. the chickens got the flu, and the cows are mad...


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