LONDON: A press freedoms organization on Wednesday urged the Brazilian government to step up efforts to find British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Araujo Pereira who went missing in a remote corner of the Amazon rainforest on Sunday.
The two men were last seen in the Javari region of the sprawling state of Amazonas where they were carrying out research for a book.
Emmanuel Colombie, director of Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) Latin America bureau, said: “The Brazilian government must urgently coordinate the efforts of the federal police and armed forces to find Dom Phillips and Bruno Araujo Pereira. Every second that passes is a second wasted.”
Phillips is a freelance journalist who works for various international media outlets including The Guardian, Financial Times, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, while Pereira is a former government official, responsible for protecting Brazil’s uncontacted tribes.
The pair had been traveling by boat when all contact with them was lost.
According to reports, both had received threats days before vanishing on Sunday morning.
Phillips’ family has appealed to authorities in Brazil to speed up the search. In a written plea, his Brazilian wife, Alessandra Sampaio, said: “Our families are in despair, please answer the urgency of the moment with urgent actions.
“In the forest every second counts, every second could be the difference between life and death,” she added.
Rights groups have said that the Brazilian navy’s response in sending a team of sailors to search for the men was totally inadequate for such a dense, hostile, and remote region.
Meanwhile, Pereira’s partner, Beatriz de Almeida Matos, said: “I have a three-year-old son and one who is two. All I can think about right now is that he comes up safe, for the sake of the boys.”