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News > Brazil

Brazil: Native Communities Face Rise in COVID-Related Deaths

  • Native leader Vanda Ortega Witoto demanding health aid. Amazon, Brazil. May 2020.

    Native leader Vanda Ortega Witoto demanding health aid. Amazon, Brazil. May 2020. | Photo: Twitter/@amazonia_real

Published 12 May 2020

Native communities face drinking water scarcity and the lack of medical supplies.

Brazil's Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) reported a COVID-19 related cases.


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According to COIAB communication, Amazon indigenous communities register over 200 positive cases and about 16 deaths due to the virus. Besides, the organization reports 23 native groups are under pandemic harm and requires governmental assistance.

“We don't have the structure to cure coronavirus patients. Sesai (Special Secretary for Indigenous Health) insists on serving only the villagers. Many indigenous people die in the hospital because they don't have beds,” said Eladio Kokama, Alto Solimões native leader. Kokama people reported 26 deceases due to the virus.

For his part, Serafim Corrêa, Amazon State Deputy, expressed his concern about the Covid-19 outbreak in Alto Solimões and Alto Rio Negro regions and requested the government for urgent measures to prevent indigenous people genocide. 

"Help Parque das Nações Indígenas to overcome #COVIDー19' - The Parque das Nações Indígenas neighborhood is located in Tarumã, in Manaus, Amazon." 

Tabatinga region is also one of the most affected by the virus. The Amazon community of Leticia, a Colombian locality severely harmed by the virus with 718 cases. Borderline pass remains unrestricted because of food and supplies trade between both regions.

The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) also saidnative communities face drinking water scarcity and lack of medical supplies. APIB explained these livelihood conditions prevent indigenous people to follow WHO recommendations to avoid the virus. 

According to COIAB and Cesai, since May 11, Amazon's indigenous communities registered 212 confirmed cases, 123 possible contagious, 60 deaths, and 23 affected communities. 

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