Support for COVID-19 response in Amazonia
As the COVID-19 outbreak has spread throughout the world, it has hit the people of the Amazon especially hard. Since a large portion of the urban population in the region earns a living through informal work, it has been a major challenge to effectively enforce stay-at-home orders, and the lack of adequate healthcare infrastructure has meant that several Amazonian cities, including Iquitos (Peru), Leticia (Colombia), and Manaus (Brazil), have faced major crises in the past two months (see this dashboard monitor of COVID-19 cases in Amazonia). The virus has also gradually spread into rural areas, where there is even less capacity to manage this illness, and the majority of the population is made up of indigenous peoples who are especially vulnerable to such viruses.
In this context, the Andes Amazon program team has been working closely with partners in Peru, Colombia, and Suriname to support efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, ensure that care is provided to those infected, and draw attention to the needs of populations that are particularly vulnerable during this crisis. For instance, we collaborated with government agencies and non-governmental organizations to ensure that Indigenous peoples stranded in the city of Iquitos, Peru, have access to food and medical care and are provided with a safe way to get back to their rural communities. We worked with partner organizations to create and disseminate fliers, radio spots, and other materials with accurate and up-to-date information about the virus and how it can be prevented and managed. We provided funding through a local partner for medicine kits for communities in the Putumayo and Ampiyacu watersheds. Finally, we are participating in a fundraising campaign led by the regional government in Loreto, Peru (where Iquitos is located) to provide medicine kits, personal protective equipment, and non- perishable food items to communities surrounding the four Regional Conservation Areas in the Region of Loreto. Minimizing the human toll of this virus is essential to achieving our vision of conservation for wellbeing in the Amazon, and while this moment has been deeply tragic, it has also allowed us to develop and strengthen alliances and lay the foundations for a more inclusive future for the region.
Click here to view and download the COVID informational flier developed with partners.