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Tue May 18, 2021, 04:05 AM

Yanomami beset by violent land-grabs, hunger and disease in Brazil

Flávia Milhorance in Rio de Janeiro
Mon 17 May 2021 00.00 EDT

Indigenous people in the grip of a humanitarian crisis as Bolsonaro gives encouragement to wildcat miners with designs on their rainforest territory

Aphotograph of an emaciated Yanomami girl, huddled listlessly in a hammock beside an empty cooking pot over an unlit fire. Shaky footage of indigenous people screaming as they flee in panic to a soundtrack of gunfire.

Shocking images shared on Brazilian social media this week have cast a spotlight on a spiral of violence, malnutrition and disease that threatens fresh devastation for the Yanomami people and their ancestral territory in the Amazon state of Roraima.

“The Yanomami are facing a humanitarian crisis, which is as critical as at the end of 1980s when the territory was invaded by 40,000 illegal miners,” said anthropologist Ana Maria Machado, a member of the Pro-Yanomami and Ye’kwana Network.

About 27,000 Yanomami live on the reserve which is the size of Portugal. But in recent years, the territory has seen a new invasion by about 20,000 wildcat miners – known as garimpeiros. Last year, the influx caused a 30% increase in illegal mining inside the territory, and it has also brought infectious diseases.


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