The agony of a lake

The Poopó Lake, the second largest one in Bolivia, is at risk of disappearing.  And with it, the Uru people, the eldest in the high Andean plateau.


En Portada travels to Bolivia to show the fight for survival of the Uru people, one of the oldest in America. 



The Poopó Lake is the second largest in Bolivia, after Titicaca.  In 2016 it got dry, and this brought to poverty for the neighbors and a radical change in ancestral ways of life.  Now part of its water is back, but it is not enough to recover its former biological richness and secure the survival of the local communities.

Several elements join in: climate change (the average temperatures in the high Andean plateau has increased 2ºC in the last decades), El Niño phenomenon (that cause big draughts in the region), the decrease of rivers water volume, the increase of farming activities and especially, mining, that creates environmental pollution.

All those elements bring about a kind of perfect storm that leads to the disappearance of the Poopó Lake and that local communities cannot have access to any drinkable water.

There is already a water crisis in the Poopó region.  And the first victims are the Urus, the eldest people of the plateau.  Without the lake, their culture, dependent of the water and its resources, will disappear.  They are already forced to move to survive.  They are the first dislocated, the first climate refugees of the planet.




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