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Project August 11, 2020

The Amazon, Between Pandemic and Destruction



The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest chapter in a history of looting as experienced in Amazonian territories. After all, epidemics are long known in the region. Since colonial times they have been brought in by invaders, who arrive there to accumulate wealth, leaving a permanent trail of destruction. It seems like little has changed in that structure.

The focus of this project  is on local stories in which the destruction of Amazonian territories and political factors act as catalysts for the high incidence of COVID-19. Each audio-documentary is centered on the perspective of specific characters. The episodes are based on deep journalistic investigation of the history and conditions in which the territories were when the new coronavirus arrived. As in a series, one episode leads to another, investigating different aspects of this correlation between the new coronavirus and destruction.

This episode will investigate the impacts of the construction of Belo Monte hydroelectric dam - the fourth biggest in the world. The flooding 478km² caused an irreversible environmental and social impact, including an intense forced migration of forest people to peripheral neighborhoods of Altamira city. People who used to live in strong contact with the forest became vulnerable to poverty, urban violence and diseases. Part of the hospitals promised as a "compensation" for the construction of the dam never arrived, and the region had to struggle against COVID-19 with as little as 9 ICU beds for 400 thousand people.