"How The Forest Dies"

"The Amazon is going dry. In one parched corner, a desperate wait for water is only just beginning."

"RIO BRANCO, Brazil — In her 60 years of life in the Amazon, Antonia Franco dos Santos has never had much money. Food was sometimes scarce. But never in the forest, with its heavy rains and endless rivers, had she known a life without water — not until she moved to this city along the southern crest, where her reserves are now down to the last gallon and the deliveryman is nowhere to be seen.

“He’ll come,” Franco says, looking into the distance. “He will.”

It hasn’t rained in more than a month, and probably won’t for another. The community pond that Franco and her neighbors used during the rainy season has dried to a muddy puddle. A water hole they’ve dug in desperation hasn’t conserved a drop. And inside her wooden shack this Monday morning is a stack of dishes, unwashed; a pile of clothes, unwashed; and an infant great-grandchild named Samuel. He needs a washing, too.

For Franco, this makes three drought-racked years in a row, living in a landscape she never imagined: an Amazon gone dry.

“I have to hope,” she says, glancing down at her mismatched socks. “Today will be different. Enough water will come.”"

Terrence McCoy reports for the Washington Post with photos and videos by Alexandre Cruz-Noronha and graphics by Simon Ducroquet and John Muyskens November 18, 2022.


Source: Washington Post, 11/22/2022