NAHUA IN PERU'S AMAZON STRUCK BY MERCURY CRISIS, SAYS HEALTH MINISTRY

Peru’s Health Ministry has finally made public a report on the health of the Nahua, an indigenous people numbering less than 500 in the Peruvian Amazon. The report’s findings are devastating: high infant mortality rates, chronic malnutrition, anaemia, severe diarrhoea, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and, according to urine samples collected by government health authorities between late 2014 and 2015, 78% of the population contaminated by “high levels of mercury.” As detailed in my recent article in The Guardian about a leaked version of the report, the Ministry is now making numerous recommendations. These include taking hair samples of the Nahua and investigating the nearby Camisea gas project as the mercury's potential source. The majority of the Nahua live in a village, Santa Rosa de Serjali, at the confluence of the River Serjali and River Mishagua in the headwaters of the Urubamba watershed. National indigenous federation AIDESEP had previously accused the Health Ministry of a cover-up for failing to publish the report, having demanded its "immediate publication" back in mid-2016. (02-02-2018) 

David Hill