The Armed Forces added three helicopters to the fleet carrying out humanitarian actions in the Yanomami Indigenous Land (RR). This brings the number of military helicopters that transport food and medicine to indigenous communities inaccessible by land to five.
The measure was announced after successive requests for logistical reinforcement made by the National Foundation for Indigenous Peoples (Funai) and by the Federal Public Defender’s Office (DPU) since the end of January.
Understand: Armed Forces continue to ignore requests for help to deliver food to the Yanomami
The request from the indigenist body was ignored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces (EMCFA), according to the Brazil in Fact reported exclusively this Wednesday (15). Hours after the publication of the report of the BdFthe FAB website announced the use of the new aircraft.
“The vectors (helicopters) are now part of the fleet in order to enhance the aerologistic transport missions, considerably increasing the operational capabilities for the fulfillment of the missions”, says the Air Force text.
FAB had been operating for two weeks with a helicopter
Owner of the largest fleet of military aircraft in Latin America with more than 700 vehicles, the FAB has so far used a helicopter (H-60 Black Hawk) in the humanitarian mission in Roraima. The second active helicopter had been provided by the Army.
The reinforcement in humanitarian flights announced today (15) takes place within the scope of Operation Yanomami Shield, launched by the FAB on February 2. In addition to transporting food and medication, the FAB works with fighter planes to intercept prospectors’ aircraft and planes that monitor the airspace.
Each of the three new helicopters belongs to a Force: Army (model HM-4 Jaguar), Navy (UH-15 Super Cougar) and FAB (H-36 Caracal). The Air Force claims that the aircraft have a higher carrying capacity than those being used in the last two weeks.
Increase in food baskets depended on logistical reinforcement
In a letter from Funai hitherto ignored by the military, the president of the indigenist body, Joenia Wapichana, says that military logistical support is “essential” in view of the substantial increase in the volume of food that will be delivered to the Yanomami.
At the end of January, the DPU visited the indigenous land and found “absolutely insufficient in the number of aircraft available for the distribution of food and medicine”. The body asked for the use of “all possible logistical structure, without any budgetary limitation”, according to a letter sent to the federal government.
Without helicopters, it is impossible to transport large amounts of inputs to most of the Yanomami area, which is roughly the size of Portugal. This is because most landing strips are in a poor state of repair and are incompatible with large aircraft. An emergency maintenance project is underway.
The Yanomami Indigenous Land is experiencing a humanitarian crisis created during the government of Jair Bolsonaro (PL), who neglected the indigenous people’s requests for help and allowed the prospector invasion to unfold with almost no restrictions.
The number of invaders was estimated at 20,000, against almost 30,000 indigenous people who legitimately occupy the area. The miners began to flee after the Lula government launched an operation to expel non-indigenous people and declare a public health emergency in the territory.
Editing: Nicolau Soares
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