Rift Valley Fever outbreak- statement by UDM Agriculture Spokesperson (19 March 2010)

The UDM is deeply concerned about the rapid spread of Rift Valley Fever. To date tens of thousands of livestock in Northern Cape, Free State and the Eastern Cape. In addition 27 people have been infected, two of whom have passed away.

We are concerned that Government is not acting quickly or effectively enough to deal with this economic and social impact of this viral outbreak.

The rapid spread of the disease has also exposed the infrastructure crisis in many rural areas of the country. Government has neglected the rural areas for more than a decade now; the result is that provinces with high rates of rural poverty have suffered from a complete breakdown in livestock control. Similarly the pitiful state of rural health infrastructure has led to numerous infections of humans and the tragic death of two people.

We call on Government to make special emergency funding available to contain the spread of the disease and raise public awareness in all the affected communities of the dangers of contracting this disease.