A measles epidemic has hit an isolated Amazon tribe on the Brazil-Venezuela border which has very little immunity to the disease.
The devastating outbreak has the potential to kill hundreds of tribespeople unless emergency action is taken.
The Yanomami communities where the outbreak has occurred are some of the most isolated in the Amazon.
But thousands of gold miners have invaded the region, and they are a likely source of the epidemic. Despite repeated warnings, the authorities have taken little effective action to remove them.
In Brazil, at least 23 Indians have visited a hospital, but most of those affected are far from medical care.
Survival International is calling for authorities in Venezuela to provide immediate medical assistance to these remote communities.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today: “When tribal people experience common diseases like measles or flu which they’ve never known before many of them die, and whole populations can be wiped out. These tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. Urgent medical care is the only thing standing between these communities and utter devastation.”
The Venezuelan NGO Wataniba has released further details on the outbreak (in Spanish).