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France provides Covid-19 relief to indigenous communities in Guyana

France provides Covid-19 relief to indigenous communities in Guyana’s Minister of Education Priya Manickchand during an outreach to an indigenous community in Region One (Barima-Waini)

In the global pandemic, the indigenous communities living in the Amazon Forest are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 which spreads severely fast in the region.

In response to a request for emergency aid to support indigenous peoples in the Amazon, France contributed US$2 million (1.8 million euros) to the “Amazon Emergency Fund”.

This donation went to COICA, Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin, an indigenous organization that focuses its efforts on the promotion, protection and security of indigenous peoples and territories through the defense of their ways of life,  principles, social, spiritual and cultural values.

The amount of the French donation was divided by COICA among eight states covered by the Amazonian Forest.

Therefore, Guyana received US$200,000 in financial help.

When the Covid-19 crisis hit Guyana, the NGO Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) raised concerns for indigenous communities that are isolated and experience limited access to health care services.

During July and August 2020, three regions which carry the majority population of indigenous peoples have been severely affected by the pandemic.

In addition to the disease, the villages suffer from shortage of food and medical supplies.

The Amerindian Peoples Association which promotes and defends the rights of indigenous peoples in Guyana for almost 30 years, has been chosen by COICA to coordinate and efficiently implement the French financial assistance.

Working hand in hand with local leaders, APA is focused on achieving self-sufficient food supply and improving health care systems. The immediate objectives are to provide humanitarian support, food relief, medication, sanitization supplies and to reinforce awareness on preventing the spread of the virus.

France’s support will provide immediate and necessary assistance for the benefits of 88 indigenous communities from all over Guyana, suffering from the disease and the negative impacts of the global pandemic.

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