Javari Valley Indians dying due to lack of medical care

January 11, 2008

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Eight Indians, including five children, died in the Javari Valley in the Brazilian state of Amazonas in December. The local Indigenous organisation, CIVAJA, has blamed the government for the deaths, saying it has failed to provide adequate medical care for Indian communities.

One of the children, who died aged six, had to wait two days before a boat was sent to bring him to the town of Atalaia do Norte where he could receive treatment. The Indigenous health centre in the town, built to accommodate 35 people, currently houses 150.

The Indians of the Javari Valley warned early last year that rates of malaria and hepatitis in their communities were spiralling out of control, and that uncontacted tribes in the area were in grave danger.

The Javari Valley is the second largest Indigenous territory in Brazil. It is home to around 3,000 Indians, including the Kanamari, Kulina, Marubo, Matsés, Matis, Korubo and Tsohom Djapá tribes. At least six uncontacted tribes are known to live in the remote region near the Peruvian border.

Brazilian Indigenous People