In 2020, the Covid emergency had a devastating effect onAmazonia which has recently become even more dramatic. A new strain of the virus has overwhelmed the health system in Manaus, the state capital of Amazonas for the second time, and is now spreading rapidly inland. The daily oxygen requirement in Manaus is 80,000 liters per day – three times the normal – and local production cannot keep up with the huge demand.

In the context of this very difficult situation, the little ones Amazonian villages, isolated and accessible only by boat, they have no health care or medicines nor emergency transport, which makes inhabitants extremely vulnerable in case of contagion. For this reason, says Emanuela Evangelista, founder of Amâzonia Onlus, biologist and activist involved in the socio-environmental protection of the Brazilian Amazon forest: “Indigenous and traditional communities have only one possibility to protect themselves from the virus: to stay in the forest”.

The natives live mainly on fishing, hunting and gathering, but they also depend on distant cities for a network of trade. “Isolation in these regions creates a problem of food security” – continues the biologist – “we need supplies, provisions and material to get food, we need medicines, hygiene products and basic necessities. The shortage of supplies can compromise the attempt at self-isolation and endanger the entire population. For this, from April 2020, we are distributing the necessary for the survival of the 250 families of the Jauaperi National Park, about 1200 inhabitants. We have already delivered 40 tons of products but the state of emergency continues ”.

Amazônia Onlus, founded by the biologist in 2004, supports the natives of the Amazon and the protection of the tropical forest and its biodiversity. Normally, the organization works to offer training, health and income to local communities but, since the beginning of the Covid emergency, it has had to focus all its actions in one direction: protecting the natives. “We had to act quickly and with the ways and means of a humanitarian organization for emergencies, a whole new challenge. We conducted an intense risk communication campaign, to inform communities along the rivers, raise awareness and alerting even the most isolated families to the dangers of contagion and the need to reduce travel towards urban centers. The result was voluntary isolation, regulated by internal village and intercommunity agreements “, says Emanuela, who last year, on February 17, 2020 was awarded by the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella of the appointment of Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic: “for her constant commitment, in the international context, in environmental defense , in the protection of indigenous peoples and in the fight against deforestation “.

At that moment, no one could have imagined that not even a month later, on 11 March 2020, the WHO would have declared a pandemic status: “We found ourselves facing a situation we were not prepared for. We weren’t born to handle health emergencies. For a year we have been facing a challenge that is not ours ”, explains Emanuela.

This is why today more than ever it is important to support the work of those who, between difficulties and sacrifices, take care of the Indians, of such an important piece of the planet, the Amazon forest, and therefore also of us. A small donation is enough to help Emanuela and her collaborators: all the information at this link.

The village of Xixuau, in the Amazon

© Mancuso Emiliano / Grazianeri

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