Sophia's Peace Work

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Flu

Bird Flu was confirmed in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq a few weeks ago and I knew it would only be a matter of time before we'd here stories such as the one below from the Christian Peacemaker Team in Baghdad.

22 February, 2006
BIRD FLEW By Allan Slater, CPT

Yes, the fruits on this tree are delicious but we will not be eating them this year because of bird flu. This was the answer I got when I asked about the cherry sized fruit growing on a tree in a friend's garden. The threat of bird flu from wild birds or chickens has really thrown a scare into the people of Iraq. Birds also steal fruits from the tree in question so the family fears that they may touch some bird droppings on the fruit.

About two weeks ago the man who barbeques chicken on our main street just stopped work. No one would buy his chicken any more. The only chicken available is in the freezers of some grocery stores where it has been sitting for three weeks or more. The store owners are happy to see CPT shoppers because we are the only people still eating chicken. Our landlord has a friend in the importing business. He bought a 20 tonne load of frozen chicken in Egypt. The load was inspected and certified safe but when it got to the
Iraqi border clearance was delayed. So 20 tonnes of chicken slowly rotted in the truck.

The price of eggs has dropped. I assume that people have reduced consumption of them also. The prices of beef and lamb have risen at the same time because they are now the only sources of animal protein. Chicken and eggs have been the least expensive sources of
protein in a country where children already lack dietary protein for healthy growth. This public fear of bird flu is likely going to worsen that problem.

Suicide bombings, rocket attacks, kidnappings continue unabated in this chaotic place but the people of Iraq can join the rest of the world in fearing the outbreak of a world-wide bird flue epidemic.


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