The Spanish Press Tells of the "Tragic Survival of Alaska Natives During Covid" by CARLOS MATÍAS
Recently, the Spanish newspaper "La Vanguardia", from Barcelona, published a report entitled "The tragic survival of Alaska natives in the remote areas of Alaska during Covid", in which it talks how the disappearance of seven hunters in the Kuskokwim River, in October, has highlighted "the risks of surviving in the midst of the economic crisis and how the pandemic forced a reduction in rescue forces".
Seven seal hunters disappeared aboard a small single engine metal boat in a remote area of Alaska. It occurred at the mouth of the Kuskokwim, a large river used as a transportation artery between the interior of Alaska and the Bering Sea, where small, very isolated native communities are found, mostly on the banks of this large river and its estuary.
Hunters went out to hunt seals because it is their way of life. Almost all of them were native to the area. They didn't carry survival equipment, or camping gear, in spite of being expert hunters and knowledgeable of the terrain where they intended to hunt.
After their disappearance, rescue work began. But it only lasted only a few days. The river began to freeze and the chances of finding them alive were very low.
The search for this group of hunters suffered the collateral effects of the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis: there are fewer rescue workers and the security health measures are very restrictive, so as not to spread the virus through the isolated communities from which the hunters came.
In the Inuit tradition the rescue team cannot involve people who love the missing person, because it would be too hard and could upset the balance of logic in the search, because of the emotional consequences. The US Coast Guard officers in charge of the rescue do not share this tradition. They say that, in times of pandemic and in emergencies, all efforts are welcome.
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