For forty years, different oil companies have produced oil close to the territory of the indigenous Shipibo community of Nuevo Sucre in the Peruvian Amazon and have run a pipeline through their territory to the river Ucayali.
There have been three major oil spills from this pipeline since January 2009, adding to the many years of crude oil seeping into the land and water.
Crude oil has now been show to be highly toxic. Its effect on this community has been devastating. There have been three “unexplained” deaths in the last two years and the general state of health of the community of 46 families is shocking with people suffering from skin, respiratory, hematological, eye, neurological, stomach and reproductive system problems.
A recent report by a World Health Organization expert consultant on community health concluded that:
“I can conclusively state that the individuals in these communities have suffered ill health as a result of exposure to crude oil.”
In addition, the crude oil has contaminated the local creek to such an extent that there are now no longer fish in it, a key and formerly easily accessible food source for this community.
The community is currently in negotiation with Maple Oil Company for compensation for the environmental and social damage caused by oil spillages.
Meanwhile, there is an urgent need to provide healthcare to this already marginalized community.
The Peruvian NGO, Alianza Arkana, in collaboration with Ohlone Herbal Center, based in Berkeley, California, is working with the community of Nuevo Sucre to bring them adequate health care in the form of traditional plant medicines.
Don Antonio, a local and much respected healer from a neighboring community, with over 40 years of experience treating people with traditional medicine derived from the extraordinary diversity of plants that grow in the Peruvian Amazon, will be working with his son and two students from Ohlone Health Center, to offer this health care.
We urgently need $7500 to pay for the costs of transport and food for Don Antonio and his son to attend to the people of Nuevo Sucre, in addition to paying for his time and the preparation and cost of the different plant remedies. The two students will be self-funding.