Drought Leaves Amazon Populations in Brazil Isolated Without Water, Food and Medicine

The drought in the Amazon basin which has limited navigation in many tributaries leaving thousands of people short of food, water and medicine has began moving east reported Brazilian authorities.

Although some improvement has been recorded in the west of Brazil as water has began to raise again, particularly in areas close to Colombia, extremely low levels in the port of Santarém, 2,500 kilometers to the north of São Paulo, have grounded vessels in sand banks, said the local port authority.

"Water has gone down 30 centimeters in the last three days and now stands two long meters below normal. With less than twenty meters and sand banks we’re having growing problems with shipping," said Captain Gerivaldo Rodrigues Tosta.

"This is very serious because rivers are our highways, our arteries, the only way we can get food, medicine, supplies to thousands of people," added Captain Rodrigues Tosta.

Besides many people along the rivers live on fishing and in the west of the basin, some tributaries have dried up or have become pools of mud.

An estimated 30.000 people are suffering the lack of food and transport, and a fifth of the 1.3 million cattle herd in Amazon state have died, reported the Brazilian news agency Globo.

Amazon state authorities have began delivering food, water, fuel, medicine and other supplies by helicopter, but the more distant villages will have to wait until the weekend, underlined O Globo newspaper.

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

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