Peru’s Environment Ministry announced Sunday that a state of emergency had been declared for 90 days in the Amazon region affected by an oil spill, which is home to some 2,500 indigenous peoples.
The decision came nine days after a rupture of the Norperuano pipeline that spilled some 2,500 barrels of crude oil into the Cuninico River in the Loreto region (northeast), affecting six indigenous communities.
“The affected geographic area in the municipalities of Cuninico and Urarinas has been declared an environmental emergency,” the ministry said, stressing that the spill occurred in an area where artisanal fishing is practiced.
The measure aims to facilitate recovery and minimize pollution.
The Norperuano pipeline, one of the country’s largest projects, was built four decades ago to transport crude oil from the Amazon to Piura on the coast and is 800 km long.
According to state-owned Petroperu, the leak was caused by a 21-centimeter cut in the pipeline’s pipe.
Now that the leak is under control, six communities of indigenous Kukamas from Cuninico, whose leaders denounced the pollution of the river, are affected.
The prosecutor’s office opened an investigation this week into the cause of the environmental incident.
Since January, Petroperú has reported 11 attacks on its pipeline that have resulted in oil spills.
According to the National Society of Mining, Petroleum, and Energy, 29 acts of sabotage against the pipeline have been since 2014.