Brazil: Possibility of land invasions by loggers as indigenous communities face increased risk of COVID-19

Author: Joao Fellet, BBC News, Published on: 6 April 2020

"Coronavirus 'could wipe out Brazil's indigenous people'", 06 Apr 2020

Respiratory illnesses - such as those that develop from the influenza virus - are already the main cause of death for native communities... Infections have...now spread across the country, including to indigenous territories in the Amazon basin that are the size of France and Spain combined... "There is an incredible risk of the virus spreading across the native communities and wiping them out," says Dr Sofia Mendonça... Many communities lack the means to reduce the risk of contagion, such as washing hands with soap and water... People also often live in close quarters.. [and] in areas where there is limited access to healthcare...[M]any are questioning whether the government will seek to protect indigenous groups...  [Bolsonaro] said Brazil's indigenous lands are too big and that their natural resources should be shared... In the face of government inaction, several indigenous organisations have asked their communities to suspend trips to cities and prevent visitors from entering their territory...  However, illegal loggers, hunters and evangelical missionaries are operating in their territories... [T]here has been a sharp increase in incursions in recent years... [M]any leaders say people could go hungry if they have no access to markets... Funai [the federal agency for indigenous affairs], has also had its budget slashed... Funai...did not say how it would tackle hunger and land invasions during the pandemic... 

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