From: Associated Press
Published January 27, 2005 12:00 AM

Small Town in Jungle Creates Dilemma for Authorities

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — A judge's order to evict the population of a town established illegally in an Amazon forest reserve has left environmental officials scrambling to find a place for its 1,000 residents.


Families began settling in Rio Pardo, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) west of Rio de Janeiro, about six years ago, constructing wood houses, a small grocery store and a makeshift hospital in the Good Future Forest Reserve.


Antonio Carlos Hummel of Ibama, the federal environmental protection agency, said authorities were "negligent" in not stopping the occupations immediately and are now more vigilant against settlers. More than 5,000 people -- mostly loggers, farmers and ranchers -- have illegally occupied parts of the reserve for more than a decade, he said.


In accordance with the judge's order handed down in December, Ibama and the federal land reform institute, Incra, are now preparing to evict and resettle the Rio Pardo residents. A socioeconomic study of the residents is to determine the best location.


"It's a complex situation," Hummel said. "We cannot evict all these people from one day to the other, but we also can't set a precedent that could encourage new occupations in the forest reserve."


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Source: Associated Press


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