As the virus spreads, Brazil’s Amazon gold rush keeps going – fuelling fears for indigenous groups – Unearthed

It is not only an immunological susceptibility to new viruses that puts indigenous people at higher risk, said Antonio Oviedo, a researcher at NGO Instituto Socioambiental, although this is significant; in the past tribes have been all but wiped out by smallpox, malaria measles brought by Westerners. 

In Uru Eu Wau Wau if an indigenous person catches the coronavirus, the whole village will die

Social conditions the frequent absence of proper health care also compound their vulnerability, he said, as does their frequent – increasing – exposure to fires, often set by loggers ranchers to clear forest. Fires in Brazil’s indigenous ls surged last year, more than doubling in the first nine months of the year, outstripping the increase seen across the Brazilian Amazon as a whole. 

“Many populations have a prevalence of anemia, malnutrition, even with children. The population has respiratory problems, especially in areas facing deforestation burning,” Oviedo said. 

Some indigenous groups have closed off their villages over fears of the spread of the virus, called on the government for help expelling loggers miners from their territories. 

“We told the indigenous people not to receive anyone,” said Ivaneide Beira, who works with the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau in Rondônia for local non-profit Kaninde told Unearthed that there were currently loggers grileiros on the tribe’s territory. 

“The indigenous people go out hunting, they go out to walk, to do surveillance in the territory , if they meet a person like that who is