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Story Publication logo October 30, 2022

Video: “Amazonia, the Sunken Archipelago”: A Documentary by Le Monde in the Heart of a Brazil Hit by the Climate Crisis (French)


a sunset with birds

Inhabitants of the Bailique Islands in the Amazon delta of Brazil in the state of Amapá have adapted...

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This story excerpt was translated from French To read the original story in full, visit Le Monde. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

In the Amazon delta, about fifty communities are in danger, under the combined effect of rising waters, intensive farming, and political inaction. For Le Monde, documentary filmmaker Patrick Vanier filmed the last inhabitants of this doomed archipelago.

Le Monde. Brazil, 2022.

In the north of Brazil, around the Bailique archipelago, a battle of the titans has been going on for thousands of years. On one side, the Amazon, the largest river in the world. On the other, the Atlantic Ocean and its intense tides. The fifteen thousand inhabitants of this territory, from about fifty communities, have long learned to live with these natural forces.

But for the last fifteen years, the balance of the delta has been in danger. Houses are sinking, gardens are collapsing, and schools are disappearing, swept away by an unprecedented erosion.

A few inhabitants are still holding on and rebuilding a little further inland, but most of them are now only hoping for "God's help." At the origin of the chaos, climate change and the rise of the sea level, but also local and recent agricultural and industrial choices, have precipitated the catastrophe.

Their names are Domingo, Michelle, Karlene.They are traders, breeders, or small farmers. For Le Monde, with the support of the Pulitzer Center, documentary filmmaker Patrick Vanier went to film these uprooted people of the Amazon, abandoned by the Brazilian authorities.