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2008/04/30 10:09 KST
N.K. forms emergency office to prevent bird flu outbreak

   SEOUL, April 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has established an emergency state committee overseeing efforts to prevent the possible spread of bird flu, which has inflicted serious damage in South Korea, according to North Korean television Wednesday.

   "The emergency state quarantine committee was formed to work out national plans to prevent a possible outbreak of bird flu," the North's Central TV said.

   The move came at the instruction of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the report added.

   The North has banned South Korean poultry products and eggs from the joint industrial complex in Kaesong, just north of the inter-Korean border, since Saturday to prevent the cross-border spread of the disease.

   Over 5 million birds have been culled in South Korea since the first outbreak was reported in Gimje, North Jeolla Province, earlier this month.

   The Central TV said the committee is orchestrating provincial administrations' sanitation measures, livestock quarantine as well as other programs to prevent bird flu. The report, however, did not mention when the committee was organized.

   North Korea destroyed 210,000 chickens during the bird flu outbreak in 2005. It has since actively taken part in anti-epidemic programs offered by the World Health Organization.