Charity Fears Amazon Fires Could Be 'Genocidal' For Indigenous Tribe
The director of an indigenous peoples charity has warned that wild fires in the Amazon could be 'genocidal' for a newly discovered tribe.
Some of the nomadic Awá people are known to live uncontacted by the outside world, however, they were filmed for the first time last month, according to The Sun.
The indigenous people live in the remote Brazilian forests of Maranhão - which have been severely affected by recent blazes - and now Survival International's director, Stephen Corry, has said it's 'unclear if the men in the video are still alive'.
He said: "These fires are now not just an environmental catastrophe, they're also potentially genocidal.
"By encouraging the land invaders and ranchers who set these fires, President Bolsonaro is signing a death warrant for the uncontacted tribes whose homes are going up in flames.
"If their forest is destroyed, they simply won't survive."
The Awá - also known as 'Earth's Most Threatened Tribe' - already face huge pressure from deforestation and the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations in the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) has also highlighted the threat the fires pose the tribes people.
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In a statement, it said: "The fires are destroying the remaining forests in these regions, which are vital spaces for the survival of our relatives... There are isolated peoples also in the state of Mato Grosso, many of them have not yet had their presence recognised by the Brazilian state, who may be fleeing the deforestation and fires."
The recent footage of the Awá people was captured by, Flay Guajajara, a member of the neighbouring Guajajara tribe, who shot it while hunting.
He said: "We hope this film produces something positive.
"We hope it makes an impact around the world to help protect our people and our forest."
The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, and covers 2.1 million square miles. Because of its sheer size, it is also crucial for storing carbon and helping to reduce the effects of carbon emissions that accelerate climate change - hence its nickname, 'the lungs of the Earth'.
However, this month it has been ravaged by wildfires - believed to have been started by farmers and loggers in a bid to clear land for agricultural and industrial use.
Along with the damage to the land, children in the surrounding regions are now also having difficulties with their breathing as a result of the smoke coming from the fires. According to the Associated Press, the number of people treated for respiratory issues has increased sharply at the Cosme e Damia children's hospital in the past few days.
Featured Image Credit: Midia India