The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation yesterday pledged US$7.3 million to help Viet Nam prepare for any outbreaks of avian influenza.

The money will also be used to gather evidence for a transitional strategy on H5N1 vaccination.

The two projects are expected to improve the community’s awareness on bird flu and educate the public on ways to minimise the spread of the disease to humans.

The US Ambassador, Michael W Michalak, said his government would closely co-operate with the Vietnamese Government, donors and other international organisations to help agencies move from large-scale vaccination to a more sustainable strategy on bird-flu prevention.