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Two Amazon rivers polluted by crude oil spill

The oil has polluted two rivers that at least eight indigenous communities rely on for water, the government and indigenous leaders said.

23 February 2016, 8:06am
At least 3,000 barrels of crude oil have been spilled in an Amazonian region after leaks from Peru's main oil pipeline, the state oil company said.

The oil has polluted two rivers that at least eight indigenous communities rely on for water, the government and indigenous leaders said.

Petroperu has promised a full clean-up and is also providing food and water.

The company said the first leak was triggered by a landslide but the cause of the second rupture was unclear.

The oil has poured into the Chiriaco and Morona rivers in northwestern Peru, the government's environment watchdog, OEFA, said.

The spill is affecting the Achuar community and heavy rains have hampered efforts to contain it, local indigenous leader Edwin Montenegro said.

Peru's health ministry has declared a water quality emergency in five districts and OEFA officials said Petroperu could face fines of up to $17million if the spills were found to have affected local people's health.

In a statement, OEFA said the spills were "not isolated cases" and ordered the company to replace parts of the pipeline and improve maintenance.

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