“The River Is Gone” Communities in the Amazon struggle through worst drought in recent history
In Brazil, the state government of Amazonas has declared an emergency as authorities brace for what is already the worst drought in the state’s history, and is expected to affect the distribution of water and food to 500,000 people by the end of October. Some 20,000 children may lose access to schools.
The Amazon faces one of its most relentless droughts in recorded history. Disturbing images from Brazil’s Amazonas state show hundreds of river dolphins and countless fish dead on the riverbanks after water temperatures last week shot from 82 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
As temperatures climb, Indigenous peoples and local communities across the Central and Western Amazon—namely regions in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru—are watching their rivers disappear at unprecedented rates.
Given the region’s dependence on waterways for transportation, the severely low river levels are disrupting the transportation of essential goods, with numerous communities struggling to access food and water. Regional health departments have warned that it is also becoming increasingly difficult to bring emergency medical assistance to many Amazonian communities.