Garimpeiros cause total disharmony in Yanomami society, says president of NGO

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The doctor and president of the NGO Expedicionários da Saúde Ricardo Affonso Ferreira believes that the situation in Yanomami lands could still get worse.

After the humanitarian crisis in the region, which broke out on January 20, more than 1000 people were assisted.

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In an interview with CNN Radio the doctor stated that, today, the indigenous people are dependent on the garimpeiros who work in the area.

“They are dependent on food, work, almost everything, the big problem was the release of mining, which came with the increase in cases of malaria.”

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Ricardo Affonso explained that the garimpeiros hire the Yanomami to help with the excavations, in exchange for financial rewards and even food.

“This causes complete disharmony in Yanomami society, who are a people of recent contact, about 50 years ago, are a semi-nomadic people, collectors and who think differently from ours.”

Since 2021, the NGO Expedicionários has been operating more strongly in the region: “We started distributing medicines, food, we identified rivers polluted with mercury, and the population eats these contaminated fish.”

The doctor points out that the critical health situation “is recoverable”, but that the concern will last at least for the next 6 months to 1 year.

“As they are dependent on the miners, they will need food assistance and we will need to think about what kind of supplement and food we should provide.”

He also reinforces that the ideal is for help to happen in the area, without transporting individuals.

“Contact must be made by local agents, to establish trust, otherwise they will run away and will not want assistance”, he added.

*Produced by Isabel Campos

Source: CNN Brasil

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