Yemen unable to combat bird flu and Rift Valley Fever, report says [Archives:2007/1104/Front Page]

November 19 2007

By: Ismail Al-Ghabri
SANA'A, Nov. 18 ) An official report revealed that Yemen is unable to fight possible outbreaks of the bird flu and Rift Valley Fever.

The report, issued by the General Authority for Animal Resources in the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, showed that the general authority is unable to implement precautionary program measures to prevent a possible outbreak of these diseases. It also mentioned that the authority is unable to detect initial stages of the epidemics in order to implement control actions. The report attributes these problems to the lack of budget funds allocated to the operating management to carry out programs, although the Cabinet approved a project valued at YR 50 million, according to a 2007 ministerial decree.

Moreover, a report issued on Nov. 11, 2007 confirmed the current emergence of bird flu and its expansion in nearby areas, especially throughout Saudi Arabia. According to the report, Yemen is one of the areas under threat of this disease. The report added that it is likely that the disease will spread, taking into consideration that there is vast poultry trading between the two countries, in addition to shared borders.

Ghaleb F. Al-Eryani, Director General of the Animal Resources Authority, criticized the statement released by the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, in which the latter confirmed that Yemen is free of the bird flu disease and is able to fight Rift Valley Fever. Ghaleb stated, “I wonder how the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation could release such a statement