Lula moves to protect indigenous Yanomani amid starvation deaths News84Media


Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for emergency measures to help the Yanomami indigenous group in the country, according to a government statement on Monday.

According to News84Media Brasil, living conditions among the relatively isolated Yanomani have been deteriorating rapidly, with over 570 starving to death in the past four years.

The Brazilian government’s new plan will aim to provide food and health aid to the Yanomami and ensure security in the area where illegal miners and invaders have caused deforestation and are accused of spreading disease and blocking travel.

The operation – which will be backed by Brazil’s ministries of Justice, Defence, Indigenous Peoples and Mines – also aims to ensure access to safe drinking water through wells and cisterns and to measure mercury pollution in local waterways, another consequence of illegal mining activities .

The Brazilian Ministry of Health declared a public health emergency in the region on January 20. The announcement was quickly followed by a visit to Yanomami territory by Lula – one of the Brazilian president’s first official trips since he took office earlier this year.

Separately, Justice Minister Flavio Dino told News84Media Brasil that his ministry is launching an investigation to determine whether the actions of the previous government of Jair Bolsonaro amounted to “genocide” against the Yanomami.

The pro-business former leader Bolsonaro openly encouraged development in the Amazon. He, too, traveled to Yanomani territory as president and told a community that he would respect their desire to stop mining, but during his tenure reduced funding for state agencies responsible for preventing illegal mining, logging and ranching .

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

In 2020, the Brazilian Socio-Environmental Institute warned that the coronavirus was spreading among the Yanomami from miners who had illegally entered indigenous lands.

“Today, without a doubt, the more than 20,000 illegal miners entering and exiting the area without any control are the main vector for the spread of COVID-19 in the Yanomami Indigenous Territory,” ISA said in a statement on its website. back then.