Brazil moves to protect indigenous Yanomani amid starving deaths

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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called for urgent action to help the country’s indigenous Yanomami group, according to a government statement Monday.

Living conditions among the isolated Yanomani have deteriorated rapidly, with more than 570 deaths from starvation over the past four years, according to CNN Brasil.

The Brazilian government’s new plan will aim to provide nutrition and health support to the Yanomami and guarantee security in the region, where illegal miners and criminals have caused deforestation and are accused of spreading disease and they stopped traveling.

The operation – which draws on Justice, Defense, Indigenous Peoples and Brazil’s Ministry of Mines – also seeks to ensure access to safe drinking water through wells and wells, and to prevent mercury contamination in waterways. measure local water, another byproduct of illegal mining operations.

The Brazilian Ministry of Health declared a public health emergency in the region on January 20. This news was followed by Lula’s visit to the Yanomami region – one of the first official visits by the President of Brazil since he took office at the beginning of the year.

Separately, Justice Minister Flavio Dino has told CNN Brazil that his ministry is opening an investigation to determine if the actions of the previous government under Jair Bolsonaro were a “genocide” of the Yanomami.

Former business leader Bolsonaro was openly promoting development in the Amazon. He also traveled to the Yanomani region as president, telling one community that he would respect their wishes not to mine, but during his term he reduced funding for state agencies responsible for preventing illegal mining. -legal, logging and land.

The Yanomami live in the rainforests and mountains of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela, according to Survival International, an organization that seeks to protect indigenous rights.

In 2020, the Brazilian Social-Environmental Institute warned that the coronavirus was spreading among the Yanomami from miners who had illegally entered a native area.

“Today, without a doubt, the main vector for the spread of COVID-19 within the Yanomami Indigenous Territory is the more than 20,000 illegal miners who enter and exit the land. without any control,” ISA said in a statement on its website at the time.

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