Luiz inácio lula da silva has accused his predecessor, far-right jair bolsonaro, of committing genocide against the yanomami tribe, a rainforest tribe in the northern state of roraima, brazil. reports indicate that hundreds of yanomami children have died from malnutrition, attributed to water pollution caused by mining and logging in the densely forested area. in 2021, miners in the area opened fire on the yanomami using automatic weapons. the new lula government has reported that over 500 indigenous children have died in the past few years due to drinking contaminated water with mercury.
Brazilian government took action to help the yanomami tribe in 2021, following president lula’s declaration of a medical emergency in the roraima region. the health ministry airlifted some of the most seriously ill members of the tribe and created a field hospital, sending supplies and health professionals to the area. in the four years prior to president lula’s visit, president bolsonaro had criticised the size of the indigenous reserves and promised to open some of them to agriculture and mining.
Health crisis has been attributed to the weakening of environmental protections by the former government, leading to an estimated 20,000 illegal miners operating inside the yanomami reserve, which is rich in gold, diamonds and minerals. minister of indigenous peoples, sonia guajajara, has held the former government responsible for neglecting the indigenous community and allowing the situation to escalate. dr andre siqueira, a specialist in tropical medicine, considers the situation “catastrophic” and “disastrous” and emphasizes that this issue needs to be addressed urgently.