A British TV director was accused today of causing the deaths of four members of an isolated Amazonian tribe by unwittingly introducing the flu virus into their remote village.
Matt Currington, a London-based documentary maker, has been blamed for triggering a “mini-epidemic” in the village of 250 people which led to the deaths of three children and one adult of the Matsigenka people, who live in the isolated Amazonian Cumerjali area of south-eastern Peru.
The 38-year-old was employed by Cicada Productions as researcher when he travelled to the area with a guide last year to scout for locations for the World’s Lost Tribes series, which airs on the Discovery Channel.
Government officials say there has been an outbreak of respiratory sickness since he and a guide visited the region despite warnings not to interact with the tribe, who have no contact with outsiders. The Peruvian government has consulted the regional Indian rights organisation Fenama and plans to ban the company from returning to the area.
Survival International, a campaigning group for indigenous peoples around the world, condemned the TV crew for ignoring warnings to stay away from the area’s most vulnerable communities.
A spokesman said: “They were warned not to go upstream, but were unhappy with the tribe in Yomybato – the village they were permitted to visit – as the Indians appeared too westernised. So, in searching for a more stereotypical tribe, they came into contact with a vulnerable community. Continue Reading
The same thing happened hundreds of years ago in the Americas, Africa and Australia. The introduction of the common cold/flu helped to wipe out some of the orginal inhabitants.
Anyway, it seems that Matt Currington and co just didn’t take the warnings seriously and didn’t care. All that mattered to them was making “good television!”