From Synod to scourge: Church fights COVID-19 in Amazon basin

6 June 2020
Amazonia's Witoto indigenous people in Leticia, Colombia. Image: ANSA/Vatican News.


Less than a year ago, Colombian Indigneous leader Anitalia Piachi was addressing the Catholic Church’s leadership, urging them to take action to help the Amazon region. Now her community is one of the hardest hit in Colombia’s COVID-19 pandemic, and the Church is helping to respond across the Amazon basin.

At the end of May, the Amazon basin region had almost 134,000 confirmed cases and 6,883 reported COVID-19 deaths according to a Catholic Church aggregation of published official government data from the region. There were nearly 115,000 cases in the Brazilian Amazon basin alone.

Piachi’s community outside of the Colombian city of Leticia, at the intersection of the borders of Peru, Brazil, and Colombia, remains locked down even as most Colombian cities begin to relax restrictions in the first week of June.

“Life has changed completely,“ Piachi told Sojourners.

Piachi, who implacably defended the Amazon on the world stage, casts an uncharacteristically dour tone as she describes the insecurity in the community in recent weeks, even with an increased military and government presence there.

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With thanks to Sojourners where this article originally appeared.


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