of Brazil The Ministry of Health has declared a medical emergency in the Yanomami, the country’s largest indigenous reservation bordering Venezuela, after reports of children dying of malnutrition and other diseases from illegal gold mining.
A decree published Friday by the incoming government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the announcement was aimed at restoring health services for the Yanomami people that his far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, had denied. had finished
In the four years of Bolsonaro’s presidency, 570 Yanomami children died from treatable diseases, mainly malnutrition but also malaria, diarrhea and malformations caused by mercury used by wild cat gold miners, Amazon Journalism Platform Smauma reported, citing data obtained through FOIA.
Lula visited the Yanomami health center in Boa Vista in Roraima state on Saturday, following the publication of photos showing children and elderly men and women with thin ribs.
“More than a humanitarian crisis, what I saw in Roraima was genocide: a premeditated crime against the Yanomami, committed by a government callous to their suffering,” Lula said on Twitter. but said
The government has announced food packages that will be taken to the reservation where about 26,000 Yanomami live in an area of rainforest and tropical savanna the size of Portugal.
The reservation has been under attack by illegal gold miners for decades, but since Bolsonaro took office in 2018 he has begun allowing mining on previously protected lands and allowing wildcat mining. Infiltrations increased with the promise of legalization.
There are also signs that organized crime has become involved. In recent violent incidents, men in speedboats on rivers have opened fire with automatic weapons on indigenous villages whose communities oppose the entry of gold miners.
Esteva Senra, a researcher at the Instituto Socioambiental, an NGO that defends the rights of indigenous peoples, said some gold miners have started to leave out of fear of enforcement actions by the Lula government, and it appears that They are heading across the border to the neighboring countries of Guyana and Suriname.
Lula said the new government would end illegal gold mining as it moves to curb illegal deforestation in the Amazon, which reached a 15-year high under Bolsonaro.
Sonia Gujajara, the first indigenous woman to become a cabinet minister, said, “We must hold the previous government accountable for allowing the situation to deteriorate to the point where we are weighing adults as children, and children as skin and Bones are less.” New Ministry of Local Affairs.