- Title: Brazil military hand out masks to protect isolated Amazon tribes
- Date: 2nd July 2020
- Summary: ***WARNING: CONTAINS NUDITY*** INDIGENOUS WOMAN BREAST-FEEDING BABY / INDIGENOUS MAN LAUGHING
- Embargoed: 16th July 2020 00:17
- Keywords: Brazil Brazil indigenous Roraima state Yanomami Ethnic Group
- Location: NEAR ALTO ALEGRE, RORAIMA STATE, BRAZIL
- City: NEAR ALTO ALEGRE, RORAIMA STATE, BRAZIL
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Human-Led Feature,Human-Led Stories,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA002CKZCO5J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS SOME NUDITY
Army soldiers handed out face masks to barefooted Yanomami indigenous people including body-painted warrior carrying spears and bows and arrows on Wednesday (July 1) on the second day of a military operation to protect isolated tribes from COIVID-19.
The Yanomami are the last major isolated people in the Amazon where the coronavirus pandemic has spread to dozens of indigenous communities have been infected with latest outside disease to threaten decimation of the rainforest inhabitants.
"It's all under control. We detected no cases here," Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo, a retired army general, told reporters at a frontier post called Surucucu on the border with Venezuela.
Azevedo said the death of two Yanomami allegedly shot by illegal gold miners on the vast reservation was an isolated case that is being investigated by the federal police.
A gold rush that has brought an estimated 20,000 gold prospectors to invade the Brazil largest reservation has poisoned rivers and destroyed forest, and the Yanomami say the miners have brought coronavirus.
Indigenous leaders appealed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday to order the federal government to protect isolated tribes by barring outsiders from reservation lands and expelling illegal poachers, loggers and wildcat miners said to bring fatal diseases.
The indigenous umbrella organization APIB asked that invaders be removed, with the deployment of military forces if necessary, from the reservations of the Yanomami, Karipuna, Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, KayapÃ³, AraribÃ³ia and Munduruku peoples.
APIB said 405 indigenous people had died of COVID-9 by June 27 and 9,983 infected among 112 different tribes.
In Surucucu, Yanomami families with mothers carrying their bundled infants were frightened at first by the arrival of the medical personnel and supplies of protective equipment and medicine in roaring military helicopters.
The men fumbled the mask as they covered their faces painted with red body paint from tress barks.
"The indigenosu health service (sesai) is good for us, they help us so we came to ask for help to see if we are well," said a Yanomami elder through a large white face mask. "We walked four hours to arrived here," he said through an interpreter.
Nurses took temperatures and rapid COVID-19 tests.
"When we arrived they were a little bit afraid, observing us from afar, but then we gaining their trust, they came closer and all went well," said Brazilian Air Force medic, Lieutenant Fernanda Ribeiro.
"They ended up liking the care. It has been so rewarding!"
(Production: Leonardo Benassatto, Geraldine Downer)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None