Coronavirus Devastates Indigenous Tribes In Brazilian Amazon

August 12, 2020

The coronavirus is ravaging indigenous tribes living in the Amazon rainforest as it sweeps through Brazil.

According to the Johns Hopkins University Virus Dashboard, Brazil is home to the second largest outbreak in the world, with nearly 1 million cases of COVID-19 already reported and more than 47,700 related deaths. But while the mortality rate among the Brazilian population is about 6.4 percent, it rises to 12.6 percent among the indigenous population, according to CNN.

According to figures from the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples Rights Organization Articulation, there were more than 980 cases of coronavirus and 125 COVID-19-related deaths among Brazil’s indigenous population as of the end of May, according to CNN.

According to Survival International, an organization that advocates and defends the rights of indigenous people, one tribe, the Arara people of the Cachoeira Seca territory, have been particularly hard hit, with 46 percent of the 121 people living in their reserve infected.

“We are very worried,” one Arara man told Survival International. At the health post near their village, “there are no medicines, no respirators.” The village itself is three days away from the city and the nearest hospital, he said.

According to Survival International, the Arara tribe was first contacted in 1987, relatively late in their social history, which makes them particularly vulnerable to outside diseases.” We are asking for protection for these coronavirus cases,” Ararra told Survival International.

From January 2019 to March 2020, the Amazon lands inhabited by the Alara and other indigenous groups lost more than 8,000 hectares of forest to illegal invaders and loggers, making it “one of the most deforested areas in the entire biome,” according to a May 7 statement issued by the Federal Public Ministry of the Brazilian state of Pará.

These indigenous groups, which comprise around 900,000 people, have been living in the rainforest for thousands of years. But as previously reported by the BBC, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said that indigenous people should be stripped of their land and cultural rights and that they should be integrated into society.