CUNINICO, Peru — No one ever expected Cuninico, a small riverside fishing village tucked in the heart of the world’s largest rainforest, to run out of drinking water. But it happened last June.
Since then this remote Amazon hamlet has relied on state-run oil company Petro Peru to deliver shipments of bottled water from the nearest city, nine hours down river.
Cuninico’s problem isn’t a lack of water, rather a surplus of oil. After a state-owned pipeline burst last June, some 2,000 barrels of oil leached into a nearby tributary, poisoning the Marañon River, which for generations has been the main life-support system for the 150 people of this village.
Community members say doctors have instructed them to avoid drinking the river water or using it to cook. Fish have become toxic, crippling the local economy and jeopardizing food security.
“We’re very worried,” community leader Galo Vasquez told Fusion during a…
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