INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES OF PERU IN DANGER BEFORE COVID-19
The Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Forest (AIDESEP), an institution representing more than 1,500 Amazonian communities, declared the indigenous Amazon in emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
The declaration was made on April 1, through a letter sent to the President of Peru, Martín Vizcarra and to the international community.
This letter details how to articulate and act immediately in this context of global crisis that is hitting the most vulnerable population:
"We inform the world that the indigenous Amazon is in EMERGENCY and we report that we have decided to close our communal borders in all our territories, in the face of the advance of the threat," the document states.
In the declaration, the association demands from the central government a state emergency plan for the native communities of the Amazon in the face of the advance of the pandemic. In this regard, the communities raised 17 demands, including the urgency of having face masks, rapid and molecular tests, and the S/380 voucher because they have not received the support of the municipalities with food bags, since this action was limited to urban areas.
“[…] We are “invisible” due to the flaws in the focus of national registers and statistics. It is not known how many indigenous Amazonians are infected, simply because our communities are "very far", denounces the declaration signed by Lizardo Cauper, president of AIDESEP.
As is known, the first case of contagion in Loreto was registered on March 17, and to date the number of infected has risen to 66, making Loreto the department with the highest number of coronavirus cases after Lima.
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic to indigenous communities would be catastrophic taking into account the difficult health conditions in which they find themselves and that the population has so far not benefited at all from the State.
Lastly, the official document details that indigenous organizations will provide their technical equipment, offices, vessels, and whatever is needed in communication and articulation systems in our affiliated communities throughout the Amazon.