Dear friends and colleagues,

I am asking for help, urgently, with this letter. It has three parts: (1) background, (2) donation links, (3) petition links. Read all, or jump to “your” section:

(1) Background: While European countries have more or less successfully evaded the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the situation in South America is far more complicated. Infrastructure, economics, and supply chains are much more vulnerable, as is the general population, but indigenous and other marginalized communities, especially, are under severe threat; not only from the virus itself, but likewise, because of corresponding damage, like lack of food, lack of medical attention for other illnesses, or lack of access to funds or government assistance. In the slums, favelas, or AAHH of many rainforest cities, people are dying on the streets without medical attention and without being registered for death tolls that would figure in international statistics. Indigenous and rural people are fleeing the cities, often carrying the disease with them into their home villages and communities. Indigenous people are more exposed, immunologically speaking, because of extremely high percentages of diabetes and other chronic illnesses that result from oppression, racism, and marginalization. For more background information, see the website of my colleagues at the Society of the Anthropology of Lowland South America.

With people from my own family in and around Pucallpa, Perú who are without access to actual testing, not to mention oxygen ventilation or any other treatments and are suffering from fever, cold, and cough, in fear for their lives, and with friends who have already fallen victim to the pandemic, I am writing this to ask for your help.

(2) Donations: What is most needed now are resources, and these, in most cases, can be bought. If you have any sum available to help in this emergency, please visit one of the below links. These institutions are recognized by governments and approved by anthropologists who work directly with the people:

Amazonia, nine-countrywide coordination, approved by COICA (I can recommend this one, and it’s easiest to manage),

• For more regional focus, browse the action site of SALSA (likewise recommended).

• If you feel especially inclined to help the situation in Pucallpa, which is totally out of control, I can only recommend donating to the last institution standing, the Catholic Vicariate, which is setting up an oxygen plant to supply the people in the most stricken parts of town. Here are the details for the bank transfer: Banco del Crédito del Perú (BCP), account number 480-2659387-0-77; for international transfers use the CCI(IBAN): 00248000265938707722. See more details in Spanish.

• A small-scale regional initiative by William Villacorta and Chris Fagan to help indigenous people stranded in Pucallpa.

(3) Petition: one more known issue in Latin America is that often funds and resources are available but not being distributed evenly. This is especially the case in Brazil with its current government. The most prominent current petition is guided by an open letter written by Lélia Wanick Salgado and Sebastião Salgado with international celebrity support (such as Brad Pitt, Ai Weiwei, Madonna, etc.).

See its coverage at The Guardian.

Here is the link to the AVAAZ petition.

Thank you for any kind of help!

Art by Mariom Luna.

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