HANOI, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government's overseas aid program has pledged to provide 380,000 U.S. dollars to the Lao government, supporting its efforts to fight bird flu in Vientiane capital and neighboring Vientiane province.
The fund, pledged on Thursday, will be used to finance a project on raising public awareness about bird flu, especially ways to protect people in the two localities and their poultry from the disease, Lao newspaper Vientiane Times reported Friday.
The project, scheduled to last until mid-2009, also aims at improving disease surveillance, monitoring and response systems.
Laos experienced bird flu outbreaks in 2004, 2006 and in February and March of 2007, which resulted in two human deaths. Although outbreaks were restricted to poultry in five provinces, losses resulting from poultry population culls had a significant impact on the livelihoods of many Lao people, the newspaper said.
Families in Vientiane capital and Vientiane province were particularly affected during the last outbreak.