BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's prime minister has requested financial help from the European Union to deal with the financial effects of a serious outbreak of African swine fever.
Premier Viorica Dancila made the request Thursday to the EU's agriculture commissioner, Phil Hogan, explaining that Romania needs the money "to reduce the unfortunate impact" the disease has had on Romanian farmers.
Hogan said the EU would evaluate the government's request. However, he said the situation was logistically difficult given the high number of pigs that were kept by farmers in their backyards, implying it would be easier for officials to disburse funds to large-scale pig farms.
He said 75 percent of all "backyard" pig farmers in the EU were in Romania and that the EU had already allocated 2 million euros ($2.3 million) to help veterinary services handle the outbreak.
The Veterinary Health and Food Safety Authority said Thursday that 230,000 pigs had been slaughtered and that 900 outbreaks have been reported around the country, with the southeast the worst affected.
It said it was processing some 3,100 claims totaling 47.6 million lei ($11.9 million), with 500,000 lei compensation already paid to farmers.
Dancila later said the government would pay 500 lei monthly to people who lost jobs in the pig industry due to the outbreak.
African swine fever doesn't affect humans, but it can be deadly for domestic pigs and wild boars.