Covid in the Amazon
Amazonas region facing an unprecedented threat to its indigenous populations
Abandoned by the state in the face of a new deadly COVID-19 strain, foreign and indigenous activists of the Amazon are banding together to save their communities.
The city of Manaus in the Amazon region of Brazil has been hit hard by a more contagious, deadlier strain of COVID-19. Running out of oxygen to intubate people, nurse Elayne Galvao believes the situation is only getting worse: 'In our unit, when the oxygen reserves were completely out, relatives went to buy oxygen cylinders themselves to try to save those who were hospitalized. I felt goose bumps all over'. Activist Silvio Cavuscens says the situation is even worse amongst more isolated communities: 'If those who live near the city don't have proper healthcare, imagine the natives who live on their land, more than 1.000 km from the town hall. There's no care whatsoever. It's every man for himself.' The lack of support and healthcare from the Brazilian state has left some tribes and villages teetering on the edge. With NGOs restricting travel to avoid spreading the virus, Clarice Duhigo, president of AMARN, fears annihilation: 'Our fear is that the virus could affect people who only have a few members left. If they die, it's a whole ethnic group that's dying out.'FULL SYNOPSIS