Indigenous people launch donation campaign to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the Colombian Amazon



The indigenous people of the Colombian Amazon launched a donation campaign on Wednesday to survive the "extermination" that COVID-19 can provoke in their communities, one of the most affected in the country, with more than 700 confirmed cases.

The president of the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC), Julio López, said today in a virtual press conference that despite the risk of "extermination" by the coronavirus, indigenous ethnic groups will not "disappear without fighting or resisting. "

For this reason, OPIAC presented "For the health of Amazonian indigenous peoples", a crowdfunding campaign through the vaki platform (vaki.co/vaki/ApoyaLaVidaVlinktePorLaAmazonia) to collect donations for biosecurity and food items to mitigate progress of the coronavirus.

"The peoples of the Amazon call and invite Colombians to join the Amazon with medicines, cash and food," said the organization.

The donations will go "through bioprotection measures for the 6 Amazonian departments where 64 indigenous peoples live", so that they can "remain in isolation, without having to go to urban centers."

WAITING FOR HELP FROM THE GOVERNMENT

López recalled that in the last few weeks eight indigenous people died in the Colombian Amazon, among whom was the main actor in the movie 'Embrace of the Serpent', Antonio Bolívar, and that there are already 146 people of different indigenous ethnic groups with the virus. .

The indigenous leader also denounced that the aid for these communities, which the Colombian Government had publicized in recent days, had not reached their recipients because of the "department authorities."

"The government says that it has delivered some supplies and that is a lie. We have not received a market or a resource to help our colleagues," said López.

In the last 20 days, the coronavirus has affected more than 700 people in the Colombian Amazon department, which only has two second-level (intermediate) hospitals and three health centers, not suitable for dealing with the health emergency.

The rapid spread of the virus is critical for the Colombian Amazon because it is a department with a small population, close to 80,000 inhabitants.

CASE SUB-REGISTRY

Indigenous communities are also concerned that infections may be underreported, as the results of diagnostic tests take up to two weeks to reach the department.

From the field, the professor at the National University in Leticia, the capital of the Amazonas department, Juan Álvaro Echeverri, explained that he has seen sick whole families who do not "dare to go to a health center or hospital" and that made a student of his recently died.

The situation endangers the indigenous cultural diversity made up of "40 different languages ​​from 17 different linguistic lines" and their ancestral medicinal knowledge, warned Echeverri.

For his part, López showed his concern above all for his elders, a "fundamental" part of his life and his "harmony with nature". "His risk of death is an attack on our culture, on the life of the Amazon and humanity," he reiterated.

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