COVID-19 destruction threat to Brazil’s Javari Valley!
Javari Valley is home to about 6,900 indigenous people, representing about 16 non-aligned groups, according to the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), a government agency that oversees indigenous affairs.
The Coronavirus pandemic has already killed a Tikuna native, as well as a Marubo member living in the Javari Valley desert and more than 450 people have been infected, according to the Brazilian government.
Since March, when the Coronavirus disease was first reported in Brazil, FUNAI has told traditional leaders that it will block entry into the Javari Valley, so that outsiders do not spread the virus. But that did not happen.
Indigenous communities in Brazil, with little or no contact with the world, face a major threat from the Coronavirus pandemic – and lawyers blame the government for failing to protect these vulnerable groups.
One of Brazil’s Amazon archipelagoes, the Javari Valley is a vast network of dense forests and winding rivers, making it difficult to reach. Travel is usually by boat and travel is measured in days, rather than hours. The nearest town, Atalaia do Norte, is about 700 km from Manaus, the Amazonas state capital. Atalaia do Norte is the westernmost municipality in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. It is the seventh largest municipality in Brazil and the third largest municipality in the Amazonas.
The first Novel Coronavirus cases in Javari Valley, followed a May visit by health workers and SESAI, a state agency responsible for traditional affairs. On June 4, SESAI confirmed that “four non-indigenous health professionals” had been tested and found. Earlier this week the organization said those workers had returned to work, only healthy.
In all, some 800,000 indigenous people live in Brazil’s suburbs. The largest settlement of isolated communities is in the Javari Valley, a region the size of Austria, located in the southwestern Amazonas, near the border with Peru.
Chirag Vasani is Chief Editor for wwbnn. He has been writing online and offline since many years now. When he is not writing, he likes to play golf.