The COVID-19 pandemic has created a ‘crisis on top of a crisis’ situation for indigenous communities and landowners in the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland. The worst fires in history are raging across the wetland, which is suffering the most intense drought for 50 years. This is devastating for nature and many people have lost their livelihoods as well as their homes.
Together with partners and the government, Wetlands International is coordinating immediate support for indigenous communities by providing water and food parcels, as well as helping them become self-sufficient in growing food and to set up tree nurseries in readiness for restoring the natural forest.
Impulsa Pantanal, a campaign and collective effort by Wetlands International and partners, to promote actions from all groups across the region, is also helping train community fire brigades, and improve communication and covid-conscious coordination for restoring burnt areas.
Rafaela Nicola, Executive Director of Wetlands International Brazil says: “We see the need for longer-term actions to become more resilient and adapt to the drier periods in the Pantanal through a green recovery. It is a large living system that can be restored for nature and its people.”
Both the effect of the fires and of COVID-19 affect not just the Pantanal but the entire ‘Corredor Azul’ – from the Pantanal in Brazil to the Paraná Delta in Argentina. Rafaela adds: “To solve the issues we need to look at the bigger picture. Our vision is that unique biodiversity and the well-being of millions of people living along the Corredor Azul are safeguarded by a healthy and connected wetland system.”
The one thing we all want for 2021 is to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthy wetlands are vital lifelines for people struggling to survive through the pandemic. In this special appeal, we share how Wetlands International is adapting to enable wetland recovery where it’s needed most for nature and people – from the Pantanal in Brazil to the Saloum Delta in Senegal, Java and Sumatra, Indonesia and Kumpang in Malaysia.
You can help Wetlands International restore the health and pulse of the Pantanal. Donate today.