US, Cambodia Team Up To Combat Bird-Flu Threat

The commander of US marine forces in the Pacific has offered to work in partnership with Cambo­dia’s National Committee for Dis­aster Management to deal with possible outbreaks of avian influenza, a senior committee official said Tues­day.

Nhim Vanda, CPP lawmaker and the committee’s first vice president, said he met with Lieutenant General John Goodman in Phnom Penh on Monday evening.

“Mr Goodman wanted to be the NCDM’s partner to coordinate in preventing and combating bird flu outbreaks, and he promised to provide assistance,” Nhim Vanda said.

Goodman did not suggest any measures to combat bird flu, but the committee told him that RCAF, the Interior Ministry, the Cambodian Red Cross and the Health Ministry would all have to work together in case of an outbreak, Nhim Vanda said. Interior Ministry and RCAF officials would be needed in an outbreak to transport people to hospital, Nhim Vanda said.

US Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle confirmed that Goodman met with government, military and private sector representatives working on planning efforts for a possible pandemic outbreak.

Goodman indicated that the US Pacific Command is exploring ways in which it can assist Cambodia in preparing for a possible outbreak, Daigle wrote in an e-mail. “Training is one possible form of assistance, such as the recent workshop for Cambodian military first responders that the [US Pacific Command] conducted last month,” Daigle said.

Six Cambodians died of bird flu between February 2005 and April 2006.

Kao Phal, director of the Agri­culture Ministry’s animal health and production department, said Tues­day that the bird flu situation in the country is currently “calm.”

The US recently gave the Cam­bo­dian military direct assistance, in the form of non-lethal equipment and training, for the first time in nearly a decade.





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