Alarm in the Alto Xingu (Upper Xingu) - Produzindo Certo
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Alarm in the Alto Xingu (Upper Xingu)

Fires threaten rural properties and Indigenous lands, and Aliança da Terra’s Brigade was asked by the Kamayurá at Alto do Xingu people to help

Kamayurá Brigade from Alto do XIngu (photo: Tito West)
Kamayurá Brigade (photo: Tito West)

After the Pantanal, it’s Xingu’s turn. One of the regions with the largest concentration of forest biodiversity in the country, Alto Xingu (a region that includes rural properties, Indigenous lands, and conservation areas in the northern state of Mato Grosso) is burning. During the weekend of September 6 and 7 alone, 31 new fires were identified, several of them of major proportions. The outbreaks have spread rapidly, putting farms and Indigenous populations living in the Xingu region at risk. On Monday, September 8, leaders of the Kamayurá people requested help from the NGO Aliança da Terra, which for more than a decade has been assisting and training Indigenous people in fighting forest fires.

“It’s dismaying”, says Aline Locks, president of Aliança da Terra and CEO of Produzindo Certo, a company that stemmed from the NGO with the focus on transforming production chains through social and environmental adaptation of rural properties. “We support the Alto Xingu region in fighting fires. We created an Indigenous brigade, which has been doing an excellent job of saving their lands. This year, however, things got out of hand.”.

Columns of smoke from a fire in the Alto Xingu region on the weekend of September 6.
Columns of smoke from a fire in the Alto Xingu region on the weekend of September 6.

In a letter sent to Aliança da Terra, Mayaru Kamayurá, heir to the chief, and Kanawayuri Kamayurá, adviser to the Indigenous Brigade, added that, in addition to the urgency of fighting fires, the ethnic group faces cases of Covid-19 infection. “Unfortunately, the Indigenous community and the Kamayurá Brigade are facing a fragile time in terms of health,” they stated in their request for assistance to contain the flames in the areas of Lake Ypavu and Jacaré.

“The smoke further aggravates respiratory complications for the Indigenous people who have contracted COVID-19”, explains Aline. The Aliança Brigade, which has been active in combating fire outbreaks in other regions, began to mobilize to meet the request of the Kamayurá. “But we also need help in order to help them,” explains Aline. The work of the Brigade members—a team trained by the North American Forest Service and internationally recognized for their work—is funded by donations from companies, partners, and funds, in addition to individuals, and is facing the challenge of obtaining resources in a year that combined a pandemic and a large number of fires in the region.

Contributions to the Aliança da Terra Brigade can be made through direct contact with the NGO’s Project Manager, Caroline Nóbrega [] or via PayPal by clicking here.