Paraguayan indigenous communities ask for more humanitarian aid due to the floods

The women who lead 25 indigenous communities of the Paraguayan Chaco asked the government on Tuesday more humanitarian aid to alleviate the consequences of the floods that have drowned their homes and crops in the last month, preventing them from accessing their only source of income.

The leaders denounced in a joint press conference, coordinated by the human rights organization Tierraviva, that the emergency aid they have received is insufficient, so they demanded more batches of food, mattresses, blankets and clothing to distribute among the population.

The claim has been collected in a joint letter, signed by the 25 indigenous leaders, who want to reach the president of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benitez, and the head of the National Emergency Secretariat (SEN), Joaquín Roa.

Lina López, the leader of the community of El Estribo, where about 600 people live, explained that they have lost all their "plantations of sesame, sweet potato and zucchini" in the last month because they have been buried by water and the mud ".

"Now in the countryside we do not have work," said the indigenous leader, who pointed out that floods and droughts have turned into cyclical problems that affect them every year.

López showed his "concern" for the elderly, mothers who have been widowed and children who live in the communities, since they are the groups most affected by the lack of basic necessities such as shoes.

He also pointed out that indigenous communities are suffering health problems derived from floods such as "flu", "tuberculosis" or the attacks of wild animals such as "crocodiles".

For her part, Verónica Fernández, the leader of the Yakye Axa community, home to about 255 people, denounced the lack of "tents" so that the population can move to higher altitudes because their homes have been flooded by water. .

In addition, he assured that so far each family has only received kits of food supplies of two kilograms of weight, which does not cover their basic needs, so he claimed a new shipment of at least five kilograms of products.

"Those two kilos do not reach for a day, only once and all ends again and now we do not have to hunt or go to look for fishing or wild animals," he added.

On the other hand, Martina Osuna, the leader of the La Esperanza community, denounced that her village has been completely isolated after the rainy season that the country suffered, since it is 50 kilometers from the nearest road route and roads of land are impassable.

Those responsible for all these indigenous communities said that their intention is to remain in Asunción for at least two weeks while waiting for a response from the institutions.

If the Government and the National Emergency Secretariat do not offer a solution to the lack of food, clothing and infrastructure, they have announced that they will organize to demonstrate in the Paraguayan capital.

According to the data provided by Tierraviva, in the department of Presidente Hayes, where these 25 communities reside, there live more than 25,000 indigenous people from five different ethnic groups.


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