Nearly three weeks after the Puyehue Volcano began erupting in Chile on June 4th, Mapuche communities in Argentina are still struggling to deal with the consequences. Communities throughout the Río Negro province in Argentina received anywhere from two to more than 40 centimeters of ash, oftentimes mixing with rain and snow to make the situation worse. Although no human deaths have been attributed to the volcano, there have been reports of respiratory illnesses and projections that hundreds of thousands of head of livestock may ultimately be lost. As such, the Mapuche communities of Río Negro declared a state of emergency on June 6th, and have been seeking assistance since.
Specifically, a number of organizations have been trying to collect water, masks, clothes and non-perishible food items to help the Mapuche communities in the area — particularly the rural communities living in the mountains. Due to the ash, air travel has been stopped in the area, making it increasingly difficult to get supplies to the appropriate places.
The Argentine Government is also taking steps to help the Mapuche communities cope with the natural disaster. Recently, a meeting with several high level officials was held with Mapuche representatives in order to coordinate and execute plans in the area to assist the communities in need. According to several members of the government, aid is now getting through to the communities who need it most, but it will take the area time to recover.
Although most of the response seems to have been received well, today (June 23rd) there was a report that much of the food sent for the livestock is useless, raising the risk that more animals will be lost in the near future.