Covid-19 in Brazil

Indigenous umbrella organization publishes emergency plan (Press Release)

The Brazilian indigenous umbrella organization (APIB), in collaboration with experts, has developed a plan to combat Covid-19 among the country's indigenous communities. The 'Indigenous Emergency' plan was presented in an online event on Monday evening. "Due to deficiencies in the reporting system and institutional racism towards indigenous people, they are particularly affected by the pandemic," emphasized Juliana Miyazaki, expert on indigenous communities at the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP). "They cannot expect help from Bolsonaro's government, which continues to play down the threat. Therefore, the indigenous communities have to help themselves and each other as much as possible."

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the APIB had been pushing for the establishment of the Comitê Nacional pela Vida e Memória Indígena (National Committee for Indigenous Life and Memory) to denounce the failure of the Brazilian state and to draw attention to the indigenous peoples of Brazil and their traditional way of life. APIB also set up the Observatório Quarentena Indígena (Indigenous Quarantine Observatory), a collaborative platform working with the committee.

"This has resulted in a broad process of collaboration between the various indigenous and non-indigenous organizations with regard to trying to cope with the pandemic throughout the country," Miyazaki stated. The three main goals of the plan are: Firstly, to ensure comprehensive and adequate assistance in the fight against Covid-19; secondly, legal and political measures; and, thirdly, communication measures for reporting and information.

Specifically, it is necessary to organize the purchase and supply of personal protective equipment. Additional doctors, nurses, health workers and other specialists have to ensure comprehensive care in the villages. Further, it is necessary to provide the indigenous communities with correct and appropriate information about the pandemic – through communication tools such as WhatsApp or Facebook. Also, high-quality and constantly updated information should also be used to combat "fake news", and online video health services could enable indigenous people to receive help remotely.

The total budget for the implementation of the plan is estimated at 16.5 million USD. The actions cover the whole of Brazil and are coordinated by APIB. Its regional offices, grassroots organizations, regional organizations, and civil society partners are responsible for the implementation. The next goal of the "Indigenous Emergency" plan is to raise the necessary funds. An international campaign will be launched for this purpose.

By June 30, 2020, a total number of 9,529 indigenous people from 119 nations has been infected with the new corona virus. 386 of them have died from it so far.