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Cablegate: Bangladesh Moves On Bird Flu, but Not As Quickly As Donors

VZCZCXRO8202
OO RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #0569/01 0990428
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 090428Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3742
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 9792
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9018
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1583
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 7860
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 2529
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA
RUEHKU/AMEMBASSY KUWAIT 0240
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC//ISA/NESA
RUEKDIA/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC//J2/J5
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J2/J4/J5

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DHAKA 000569

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS TO AIAG/HOLLIS SUMMERS, AIAG/TONY NEWTON AND
AIAG/NICHOLAS STUDZINSKI
DELHI PLEASE PASS TO FAS/OLIVER FLAKE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU PREL PGOV BG
SUBJECT: BANGLADESH MOVES ON BIRD FLU, BUT NOT AS QUICKLY AS DONORS
HOPE

REF: (A) DHAKA 533, (B) DHAKA 480, (C) DHAKA 117

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. GOB actions do not have a sense of urgency, and
the FAO/WHO approved National Response Plan is not being closely
followed. The donor community is trying to develop a means to urge
GOB action; key to that is the current FAO technical assessment
reported septel. END SUMMARY.

THE LOCAL CONSULTATIVE GROUP MEETING APRIL 3.

2. (SBU) FAO began by briefing the 35 attendees on the situation to
date, namely that Avian Influenza is still spreading in poultry in
Bangladesh and has not been contained. The GOB, however, is not
treating the outbreak with a real sense of urgency. The GOB is
enacting a one kilometer infected zone (instead of three kilometers
per National Response Plan), and even within that one kilometer zone
culling is not 100%, instead seeming to opt for a farm to farm
selective process. FAO substantially revised the index date and the
index location of the H5N1 outbreak from February 22 in Savar to
February 5 in Jamalpur. Details of compensation for culled birds
are still vague, but compensation is being discussed for 'backyard
poultry' only, not for the commercial farms. Approximately 70,000
birds have been culled to date, but there is no official report on
the number of birds that have died from avian influenza.

3. (SBU) The key decisions taken by the Group were first, donor
groups need to establish areas of responsibility to avoid
duplication of effort. Completing and disseminating the matrix of
donor activities is a first step towards that goal. Second,
principal officers of bilateral and multilateral missions, NGOs and
the private sector must urge the GOB to treat the avian influenza
outbreak with urgency, emphasizing the international dimension of
this problem. The main issues for immediate GOB action:

Communication. GOB communication seems to be lacking both
with the public and with the donor community. UNICEF is frustrated
that additional public service announcements are bogged down in
bureaucratic approval stages and feels that the GOB is acting as if
the situation is contained and no more communication is necessary.
Also, donors expressed frustration that the GOB's focus is on "what
can you give" rather than identifying what the GOB needs.

Implement the National Response Plan. The GOB's failure to
follow its own guidelines for culling is one key indicator that the
plan itself is not being followed. There is an international
dimension to this outbreak, and the international community would
like to establish an 'advisory board' to have contact with the
National Advisory Committee at the highest levels, and possibly with
parallels at other levels throughout the organizations responding to
the outbreak.

Use Available Resources. The World Bank proposal for $22
million in grants and credit for animal surveillance remains in
limbo awaiting GOB action on several prerequisites. Likewise, the
GOB has been reluctant to move forward on USAID identified local
currency funds available for use in response to the outbreak.

FAO ACTION

4. (SBU) Dr. Gleeson, FAO Regional Manager, Emergency Center for
Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases, arrived from Bangkok April
4 to undertake an assessment of the situation. Dr. Gleeson met with
the donor community on Friday April 6 and briefed the Advisor for
Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock on April 7, reported septel.
This visit is a critical step in emphasizing the severity of the
situation and advocating GOB action.

GOB ACTION (AS OF APRIL 5)

5. (SBU) Information from Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock:
Inspected Farms 19,303
Number of Inspected Poultries 16,594,098
No. of Farms with Confirmed H5 Virus 19
No. of Districts with Confirmed H5 Virus 06
Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Tangail, Jamalpur, Jessore
No. of Culled Farms 25
Dhaka 8 (Savar-7, Turagh-1), Gazipur-4, Jamalpur-4,

DHAKA 00000569 002 OF 002


Narayanganj-7, Tangail-1, Jessore-1
Culled on April 2, 2007 None
Culling up to April 2, 2007 69,897

For reference, estimates are that there are between 180 to 200
million chickens and 30 million ducks in Bangladesh.

6. (SBU) WHO reports that antiviral drugs (Tamiflu) are given to
workers engaged in the culling operations; this is in accordance
with WHO recommendations that these workers both wear appropriate
protective equipment and take antiviral drugs.

USG ACTION

7. (SBU) PACOM has identified Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
kits that are available for shipment to Bangladesh. Currently, a
placeholder figure of 10,000 units is being used, pending USAID
officer's determination of the actual usage rates of PPE.

8. (SBU) USAID's grant agreement with FAO on avian influenza has
been extended and additional funds can be added to the agreement.

9. (SBU) Post has created a webpage on the State Department intranet
to act as a repository for information and documents relevant to
Avian Influenza in Dhaka and to facilitate sharing. It is available
at http://10.208.1.12/dhkavianinfluenza.htm.

BUTENIS

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