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Peru declares state of emergency after Amazon oil spills

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The government of Peru on Saturday declared a 90-day state of emergency in the Peruvian Amazon communities of Cuninico and Urarinas, two indigenous-inhabited areas whose rivers have been affected by oil spills. Official information shows that the zones are home to some 2,500 native individuals who depend on artisanal fishing.

The decision comes less than a fortnight after the rupture was reported in the Petroperú-controlled Norperuano Pipeline (ONP, in Spanish), a 40-year-old construction that is 1,106 kilometers long and takes oil from the Northeastern department of Loreto to the Pacific coastal port of Bayovar, in the Piura province.

It is estimated that about 2,500 barrels of crude oil were spilled into local rivers as of this week, affecting at least six indigenous communities of the Kukumas ethnicity. According to state-owned Petroperú, the accident was caused by an intentional 21-centimeter-long cut in the pipes, the 11th “attack” suffered by the structure since January.

Peru’s National Society of Mining, Petroleum, and Energy (SNMPE) says the Norperuano Pipeline has been the target of at least 29 acts of sabotage since 2014. Peruvian special environment prosecutors have already opened a new investigation.

At The Brazilian Report has previously explained, the 782,880 square kilometers of Peruvian territory considered part of the Amazon rainforest are threatened by climate change.

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