Two oil leaks leave thousands of Peruvians without water

Two oil leaks leave thousands of Peruvians without water

By Jacqueline Fowks

The Minister of the Environment, Manuel Pulgar, acknowledged last Tuesday in a radio program that "the infrastructure [of the state oil company] is obsolete."

"Everyone's concern is where they are going to get water," explains Montenegro. The pipeline, in public hands since 1967, carries crude extracted from the jungle to the north coast along 854 kilometers. In 2014, two spills in the department of Loreto affected the communities of Cuninico and San Francisco, one; and San Pedro, the other. In the first, a leak of 2,660 barrels was registered and in the second, 7,500.

On both occasions, the damage was similar to that of now: the families lost their main source of protein and trade — river fish; drinking water; and your place to bathe. "In Chiriaco [capital of Imaza], crops of cocoa, cassava, corn and bananas have been affected," describes the ORPIAN leader.

Lawyer Juan Carlos Ruiz points out that the resolution of the Environmental Assessment and Enforcement Agency (OEFA) issued in 2015 on the Cuninico case, when the North Peruvian Pipeline spilled 47,000 liters of oil on the Marañón River, finds administrative responsibility of the PetroPerú company for various reasons. Among them, "not maintaining the North Peruvian pipeline, generating real damage to flora and fauna, and potential damage to human life or health." Ruiz assures that PetroPerú "informed the environmental authority that it had only performed internal maintenance on the pipeline in 1999."

End of provisions

On Tuesday, Radioprogramas reported from Yurimaguas (Loreto) that the supplies of food and water that the oil company left to those affected by the spill in Morona (last February 3), in the Mayuriaga community, had already been exhausted. PetroPerú reported last Monday that it had suspended the pumping of crude in the affected section, enabled a heliport, and said that it will help "the residents, until they achieve total remediation in the area."

Regarding the spill in the capital of Imaza, the state company said that it had mobilized professional and technical personnel to repair the fault and repair the damage. "The hydrocarbon has not affected any river or waterway in the area, being totally confined." Montenegro and other leaders who visited the affected ravine, however, documented that the contingency ponds and barriers were unsafe — some were just plastic tied to poles placed in the water sources.

After hearing PetroPerú's statements, Otoniel Danducho, district mayor of Imaza, questioned that “the supervising authorities and the company itself are minimizing pollution. I invite you to come: with them I want to drink that water that is running, ”he told a local radio station.

Petroperú claimed to have recovered approximately 200 barrels of crude oil, and around 400 bags with litter and vegetation from the banks of the Inayo stream, in Imaza, where the crude flowed, according to the OEFA. "They said that in three months they will finish cleaning," adds Montenegro.

On Tuesday afternoon, Luciana Dekantai, head of Imacita (a town in Imaza), reported by telephone to Montenegro: “[Oil] is going down the big river of Chiriaco. Everything is black from the rain. He entered the Marañón [river] and is reaching the Nazareth community. " It was the second time it had rained since the spill occurred.

“We have asked [PetroPerú] to increase the staff because there is still crude oil. The water when it comes lifts everything. The staff promised, but it is not enough. No one has been poisoned, although the workers are filling oil buckets, ”added Dekantai.

Photo: Area affected by the rupture of an oil pipeline in Datem del Marañón. Josue Yacum

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