Emergency Aid for the Heart of the Amazon

The Shiwiar Nation of the Ecuadorian Amazon are seeking your help as they are facing very difficult times during the COVID19 pandemic.  There are severe cases of Malaria and eleven confirmed cases of COVID. 

Since the second week of March, the government of Ecuador has blocked all local transportation within its country, including flights within its provinces. With Ecuador’s strict measurements and restrictions, the Shiwiar struggle with lack of transportation and leadership who are stuck in deep in the amazon without access to communication. As these essential needs are at a loss, access to aid for the Shiwiar's 14 communities has been difficult to find. Normally the Shiwiar have access to subsidized flights which enable them to get medical equipment, doctor appointments (in the town of Shell), supplementary food, and other aid. As of today's date, May 27th, only one small plane has entered into the territory carrying a few small packages of sanitary goods for two communities. 

As COVID-19 is crawling at the borders of the Shiwiar territory, there is already a great deal of urgency due to the tragic loss of a community member and local teacher that passed away from ongoing chronic medical problems. Access to a plane to take him to the hospital in the town of Shell could have saved his life.  

Additionally, as we mentioned, there are cases of "paludismo" or malaria that have been reported in the past few months, mostly in the communities that live by the border of Ecuador and Peru. There is a growing fear that these isolated communities will be in great danger if there continues to be a lack of aid, especially with COVID19 cases growing exponentially in the province of Pastaza, growing malaria cases, and more deaths. Where the communities live in the Amazon, the Shiwiar have no medical centers, no protective equipment and a lack of awareness of how to manage COVID-19.


Why we are coming to you

Unfortunately, the Shiwiar are not connected to any large NGOs like Amazon Watch that can provide aid. As Ecuadorian's restrictions tightened in mid March, the president of the Shiwiar and other leaders were left trapped in the interior. Without them, it is difficult to seek aid. Last week, one leader, Francisco Timias, Director of Territory, was able to come to the city of Puyo for a few days and created the attached action plan to find humanitarian aid. 

How the money will be spent

The communities need food and medical supplies. One of our major difficulties is the lack of access to transportation, and the price of flights to the communities. We will need one flight that makes 3 different stops so we can distribute the aid necessary to arrive at all 14 communities in our territory, however this is costly (over $1,000 USD). Please see the attached document that lists the communities needs.


Overview of the Shiwiar

The Shiwiar are a special nationality in the Ecuadorian Amazon, who proudly maintain the lowest deforestation rate in the Amazon at only 1.17%. We can truly call them guardians of the Amazon Jungle for their pioneering efforts to consciously conserve and protect their territory from any environmental threats like petroleum extraction, logging, and mining. 

Please read more here
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Bryce Henney 
Orchard Lake Village, MI
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