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Amazon tribe dying at alarming rate from chronic malnutrition, report finds

THE Yanomami tribe in Brazil are dying at an alarming rate from chronic malnutrition, according to a damning new report released on Wednesday.

The study using data from the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health, through Brazil’s access to information law, says at least 429 Yanomami children died from malnutrition between 2019 and 2021 — 191 times greater than Brazil’s average.

They also say that over the same period, the first three years of outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro’s term of office, at least 14 children under the age of five also died from malaria in the Indigenous Territory between Amazonas and Roraima. 

The report claims the deaths are largely caused by a massive invasion of illegal gold miners in their territory.

The Yanomami are the largest tribal group in the Amazon, where around 38,000 still live in the rainforest.

Just two weeks ago, gold miners attacked and destroyed a health clinic serving several Yanomami communities.

The clinic had already been abandoned by health workers, who feared an attack.

Junior Hekurari Yanomami, president of the Yanomami health district, says this is a humanitarian crisis, with the Yanomami “in mourning for months.”

He added: “There are no medicines and no permanent healthcare.”

Survival International’s director of research and advocacy Fiona Watson said: “This is a deliberate, man-made crisis, stoked by President Bolsonaro, who has encouraged the mass invasion and destruction of the Yanomami’s lands. 

“Their rivers and fish are now polluted with toxic levels of mercury, criminal gangs control access to many of the communities, the Yanomami are being attacked, raped and killed, and their children are literally starving to death.

“It’s absolutely vital that as soon as he takes office president-elect Lula acts immediately to prevent the Yanomami from being wiped out.” 

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