Nukak go into isolation to prevent Covid-19 infection and ensure their survival

Nukak reciben ayuda

·       Akubadaura and the San José del Guaviare mayor’s office delivered food and tool kits to the Nukak people.

San José del Guaviare, april 1st, 2020.

Far from the western world and avoiding any contact, the Nukak enter the jungles of Guaviare in the Colombian Amazon. It is the best way to avoid the spread of a disease that threatens their survival.

In 1988 and 1993, the Nukak lost 40% of the members of their community when they suffered the flu after the first contacts with the western world, so the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 Coronavirus represents a survival threat for this community. Being the last indigenous community in initial contact in Colombia, the Nukak are at risk of physical and cultural extermination.

Although persistent, the first rain of the winter in the Colombian jungle failed to stop the delivery of food aid and toolkits made by the Akubadaura Community of Jurists, in coordination with the ethnic liaison office of the mayor of San José del Guaviare and support of the Mauro Muno Council of traditional authorities, to the remote communities of the Nukak who are in preventive isolation by Covid-19.

Today, hunters and gatherers like the Nukak, do not have Cerbatanas (blowguns) to hunt for food, this basic hunting tool is made from a palm that can only be obtained in a remote region reachable by plane, making it impossible for them to carry out this ancestral activity.

Dried fish, chontaduro, papaya, rice, panela, eggs and grains, among other things, plus toolkits with items such as machetes, hooks and nylon fishing lines were delivered to the Nukak located near colonized rural settlements in the Guaviare jungle from which they plan to leave into the depths of the jungle six hours away on foot to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus strain that is alerting the entire world.

Prior to the delivery of these aid to the Nukak communities of Caño Makú, Guanapalo and Caño Cumare, an informative talk was held with the provisions made by the Ministry of Interior for the isolation of indigenous communities that include the suspension of all kinds of contact, meetings, events or projects with foreigners, non-governmental organizations, and Government agencies that are not of basic services for this community. Protocols, rules and forms of contact for the attention of any emergency were also established.

This event included an explanation of Covid-19 basic preventive care measures such as hand washing, the use of face masks, the use of clothing, the handling of objects and food; instructions for prevention in the handling of products of external origin were also given, with emphasis on the actions of care and disinfection needed prior to any contact with indigenous communities, then proceeded to disinfect the materials and aid that were delivered.

This activity also served to verify and make a general assessment of the situation of the 234 people in the Nukak settlements. Contact protocols were established. The Mayor’s Office of San José del Guaviare announced the disposition of a team of health promoters who will accompany these communities. The aid delivered is expected to last for two weeks and the Interior Ministry reported that it will deliver additional aid to accompany the Nukak people.

In the course of delivering aid to the Nukak communities, recent burning and deforestation to extend the agricultural frontier were notorious, this situation threatens biodiversity and the jungle environment on which the survival of this ancestral people depends.