Yanomami Indigenous Territory at risk


A new survey headed by the FIOCRUZ and the INPE, in partnership with InfoAmazonia, portrays the situation of the rivers in the indigenous territory.

A new survey reveals the alarming distribution of damage caused by invasions and mining in the rivers and villages of the Yanomami Indigenous Territory in Roraima.

The results show that 59% of the inhabited rivers, meaning those that are home to nearby communities, present strong signs of contamination.

In addition, the analysis shows that about 62% of the Yanomami population lives in areas at risk due to mining and invasions.

Diego Xavier, who holds a PhD in public health from the FIOCRUZ, considers the estimate conservative. He emphasizes that the 1,900 kilometers of rivers analyzed consider only permanent villages, but that the indigenous people move, interacting with rivers that are also likely affected by mining and invasions.

Meanwhile, Maurício Ye'kwana, director of the Hutukara Yanomami Association, states that, though there were invasions by illegal miners before, it was during the pandemic and the Bolsonaro administration that the situation intensified.

The community area has been degraded, the stream has been destroyed, hunting has been destroyed, and the Yanomami are starting to ask the prospectors for food.

Maurício Ye’kwana.

The survey also identified airstrips within the territory in December of 2022. Their characteristics include straight-line format and exposed soil and some of them have thresholds and support structures.

Some 188 airstrips were identified in the Yanomami Indigenous Territory, 138 of which were nearby rivers highly impacted by mining and invasions.

There has been a dramatic increase. The miners took the landing strips that were already there and built new ones. And the inspections didn't stop them. They began invading space where indigenous people lived and started expelling them.

Diego Xavier

REPORTING Fábio Zuker e Carolina Dantas TEXT AND EDITING Carolina Dantas PHOTOS AND ART The Climate and Health Observatory/Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, based on data from FUNAI and LISS/INPE - GT Geo Yanomami; Jefferson Santos/GT Geo-Yanomami/Ligas-UVA; Julia Lima and Rachel Gepp; Leo Otero / MPI;  Chico Batata / Greenpeace VISUAL IDENTITY Clara Borges ASSEMBLY  Luiza Toledo