Amongst fears that the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu will move west, the European Union has now offered Turkey 4 million euros in aid to help combat the virus. "Never before has an animal disease posed a global threat of such a dimension and spread at such a pace," EU external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told reporters in Brussels. "It is now ever closer to Europe's doorstep." This statement follows the suspicious death of a young girl in Diyarbakir on Friday. If confirmed, the girl will be the fourth victim to have died from the deadly strain – tests are being carried out to understand the cause of death.
Turkey's Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker said that Turkey would also receive $35 million under a World Bank sponsored program to improve its infrastructure and technical capacity when it comes to fighting disease. "The project will be launched in the coming days once the bureaucratic procedures are completed," Eker told reporters.
He added, "Fifteen million dollars would be released as World Bank loans and the remainder would come as grants from an international fund of donors."