Urgent Action: Stop the Flooding!


The following, from the Weekly News Update on the Americas of Nov. 28, 1999, is based on an urgent action call by the Embera Katío community of northern Córdoba dated Nov. 18, 1999. It was distributed by the Amazon Alliance for Indigenous and Traditional Peoples of the Amazon Basin, 1367 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036 tel (202)785-3334; fax (202)785-3335; amazoncoal@igc.org.


On Nov. 18, the Urrá S.A. company began filling its dam on the Sinú river in the Colombian department of Córdoba, with authorization from the Environment Ministry. Indigenous leaders of the Embera Katío community of the Alto Sinú region charge that this action has been taken without consulting the communities, without relocating local residents who will be flooded out of their homes, and without indigenous authorization for use of the territory.

The filling of the dam will directly affect indigenous homes and crops and will flood various sacred sites, causing destruction of the social, economic and cultural life of the Doza, Beguido and Amborromia communities, home to 24 families.

Indigenous leaders are asking supporters to send urgent messages to President Andres Pastrana Arango (by fax to +571-284-2186, 289-3377 or 286-7434 or by email to pastrana@presidencia.gov.co) and Environment Minister Juan Mayr Maldonado (fax +571-288-9788 or 288-9892 or by email to jmayr@minamb.gov.co) demanding that the filling of the dam be called off pending true consultation with the communities.


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