The headline might sound dramatic, but the actual situation is a worse than I could fit in such a small space. Petroperu managed to have several major leaks during the last week of June, but news of the disaster took several days to reach the outside world. Up until now, it is totally unresolved and the company is ducking responsibility.
The affected areas, known as the Saramuro region and Cuninico gorge, are diverse ecosystems that originally displayed high biodiversity and managed to support the survival of local tribes. Since the accidents, the fish and water have not been safe to consume and “emergency” efforts to resupply the villagers have been embarassingly insufficient.
Petroperu’s emergency cleanup effort entailed hiring local children to clean up the oil, with the full knowledge that they had no idea how harmlful direct contact with the oil is. There are no sources of clean water or food for the remaining villagers. To “help”, Petroperu supplied each family only 5 liters of also contaminated water (filled from the same area affected by the oil spill).
Far from improving, the entire situation has continued as described above. The state is debating declaring a state of emergency in the affected regions, but no real help has arrived. Far from the city, the affected feel abandoned and existing political pressure is insufficient to force change or help to come. Petroperu has still refused to take responsibility, and the fish that normally swim up the river and replenish both the ecosystems and local communities will very likely not make it up-stream this year. It is then unclear if any will come back next year, either.