Informal settlements are expanding, with a new occupation try every 11 days, and the threat to the rainforest is severe
Antonio Pinto’s makeshift home on the outskirts of Manaus is an open-air shack, one of dozens of similar dwellings of timber and tarpaulin scattered around the hills.
Around them is the evidence of the use of flame and iron: the hills are scorched and brown, littered with fallen logs and toppled, twisted trees.
Pinto, 57, moved here earlier this year from an isolated Amazonian river town, 18 hours away by boat. He’s sick and needed to be closer to a hospital to get regular treatment.
” I’m indio ,” he said, meaning indigenous.” There’s a bunch of indigenous people here .”
Not long ago, this area was covered in pristine Amazon rainforest and native shrubbery. In 2015, a group arrived and began clearing the land using chainsaws and fire. Today the settlement is known as Monte Horebe, and is home to about 5,000 people.
It is the largest of dozens of shantytowns in this jungle metropolis, population 2 million. Dubbed ” invasions”, these informal settlements are expanding outwards into the forest: in 2018 authorities identified a new occupation attempt every 11 days on average.
The threat to the rainforest is severe. Community such as Monte Horebe cause deforestation and enormous environmental degradation.” There are a lot more bugs here and it’s hotter now[ after the forest clearances ],” said Nara Sampaio, 31, a resident of nearby Live Better, a federal government complex housing 55,000 people.
” Manaus should be an example to the world of how man and nature can live together, but regrettably that’s not the case ,” said Marcos Castro, a professor at the Federal University of Amazonas.
Read more: www.theguardian.com