Indigenous groups in Brazil are worried the health impacts of the inescapable smoke from the upcoming fire season will be even worse than normal as many struggle with the after-effects of COVID-19, Thomson Reuters reports. Climate change is making wildfires worse and a report from the Global Climate and Health Alliance finds exposure to wildfire smoke was linked to more emergency room visits. All of this compounds the vulnerability of indigenous communities in the Brazilian Amazon, which suffered COVID-19 death rates nearly 250% higher than the overall population.
“Our community has 700 families, over 3,000 people. A lot (of those infected) ended up with respiratory problems. Their recovery was not 100%,” Joilson Karapana, a leader at an urban indigenous settlement in the capital of Amazonas state, told Thomson Reuters. When the wildfire smoke comes, breathing will only get harder for them, he worried. “Only preserving the environment could stop that.” (Thomson Reuters Foundation)