Peru has declared a 90-day state of emergency in the Amazon area affected by an oil spill where about 2,500 indigenous people live, the country’s Ministry of the Environment said on Sunday (25).
The decision comes nine days after a rupture in the Norperuano pipeline spilled about 2,500 barrels of crude oil into the Cuninico River in the Loreto region (northeast), affecting six indigenous communities.
“The geographic area impacted in the communities of Cuninico and Urarinas was declared an environmental emergency”, the ministry said, noting that the spill took place in a region where artisanal fishing is practiced.
The measure aims to facilitate recovery operations, to minimize environmental contamination.
The Norperuano pipeline, one of the largest works in the country, was built four decades ago to transport crude oil from the Amazon region to Piura, on the coast, and extends for 800 kilometers.
According to state-owned Petroperú, the leak was the result of a 21-centimeter cut in the pipeline.
Under control, the spill affects six communities of native Amazonian Kukamas from Cuninico, whose leaders have denounced that the river is contaminated. The prosecution opened an investigation this week into the cause of the environmental incident.
Since January, Petroperú has reported 11 attacks on its pipeline, which have caused oil spills. According to the National Mining, Petroleum and Energy Society, since 2014 there have been 29 acts of sabotage against the pipeline.