COVID-19 Worsens Starvation In Indigenous Children

This is the moment a disturbingly emaciated young girl from an indigenous group in Colombia is rescued by the authorities amid fears the coronavirus lockdown is causing a humanitarian crisis.

Indigenous people in the area are already on the poverty line and according to local media reports, the spread of COVID-19 alongside the lockdown was making matters worse as they are often located far from hospitals, are often in economic difficulties anyway and have other difficulties like a lack of access to water.

The Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF) reportedly rescued at least five children from the Wayuu ethnic group who were suffering malnutrition in the area of Bahia Onda in the municipality of Uribia in La Guajira department in north-eastern Colombia.

The footage shared by the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia (ONIC) on social media shows an extremely thin girl struggling to keep her balance as she walks.

Credit: Newsflash/@ONIC_Colombia

The girl is visibly weak and she needs to lean on an adult to stand up.

ONIC shared the clip alongside the message: “Today an ICBF brigade rescued five Wayuu children in Bahia Onda in Uribia, Alta Guajira, in an acute state of malnutrition. They did not want us to help them. We demand urgent attention.”

Reports said that priest Fabio Estupinan who was carrying out charitable actions in the area reported several cases of childhood malnutrition to the ICBF.

Local authorities reportedly found two children who were 4 and 7 years old who were extremely thin and were at risk of malnutrition.

The children were also exposed to an epidemiological risk as the mother said their father suffered from tuberculosis and had left the family to seek treatment in a Venezuelan hospital, local media reported.

Another child was reportedly diagnosed with malnutrition and had been suffering from a temperature for two days.

Another 21-year-old woman who was suffering from chronic malnutrition with skeletal muscle wasting, cognitive impairment, and bilateral blindness also needed the help of the local authorities, according to local media.

Reports state that the ICBF took the minors together with the young woman to the Uribia Maternal Child Clinic where they are being treated.

The Wayuu indigenous people are an ethnic group of the Guajira Peninsula in the northernmost part of Colombia and northwest Venezuela.


To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Jonathan MaciasSub-EditorMichael Leidig, Agency:  Newsflash

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