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Issue No:83
  • :0976 1121
  • :September
  • :2020

Samudra Report No.83, September 2020


COVID-19 Disaster looms for indigenous Amazon tribes as COVID-19 cases multiply

With the coronavirus spreading into remote territories across the Brazilian Amazon, indigenous leaders and rights officials are pleading with the government to adopt urgent measures to head off a catastrophe.

According to figures compiled by the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), the country’s principal indigenous federation, deaths from COVID-19 in indigenous communities have risen from 46 on May 1 to 262 on June 9. Together with numbers tallied by state health departments around the country, APIB’s statistics show that 9.1 percent of indigenous people who contract the disease are dying, nearly double the 5.2 percent rate among the general Brazilian population. The growing number of cases and the government’s sluggish response have prompted allegations of incompetence and disarray in official efforts to protect vulnerable tribal populations from contagion.

The 33,000-square-mile Javari Valley Indigenous Territory hosts the world’s largest number of indigenous communities living in extreme isolation, sometimes referred to as “uncontacted tribes.” FUNAI has confirmed the presence of nine such groups in the reserve...

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