The Waorani indigenous people in Ecuador’s Amazon have sued the government for not providing them with an emergency response to battle the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

“Oil pollutes our rivers and causes climate change, and now it is bringing more diseases to our territory,” Waorani leader Nemonte Nenquimo told teleSUR on Thursday, May 21, 2020 (Friday in Manila.) "Despite our continued warnings regarding the risks that we face... oil companies' operations, and the legal and illegal logging of our forests has continued, putting our people and relatives in voluntary isolation at imminent risk of physical and cultural extermination," she added. "The first Waorani communities infected with coronavirus are located along the oil roads," she explained.

The legal action was filed in the capital, Quito, according to human rights lawyer Maria Espinosa. It consists of demanding precautionary measures and is mainly directed at Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno and Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner, among other public figures.

Indigenous nations and communities in the Ecuadorean Amazon all share the same reality. Seventy-three confirmed COVID-19 cases had been recorded in at least five first nations, according to the director of communications for the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) in Ecuador, Andres Tapia, who regretted that suspected cases are still rising. However, there are no tests available for the indigenous community members. #COVID19

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