An opportunity missed

In January several news outlets (for example Phys.Org) reported that “In 2019, major fires in Australia, Russia and California burned over 13.5 million hectares of land—an area four times greater than the size of Belgium.”

This was an opportunity to bring out the rarely seen comparison “an area the size of North Korea”. Unfortunately none of these publishers grasped it.

In February in South America the Columbia Reports article had the headline “How to steal land the size of a small country“. It went on to reveal that “Medellin‘s elite and friends of Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe were among the main beneficiaries of the dispossession of more than 3 million hectares of land, an area the size of Belgium.”

Xingu National Park in Brazil

From The Guardian (30 March 2020):

“Coronavirus could wipe us out,” warned Ianucula Kaiabi, an indigenous leader in Brazil’s Xingu national park, a sprawling sanctuary on the southern fringes of the Amazon that is home to about 6,000 people from 16 different tribes.

With Brazil’s death toll hitting 136 on Sunday, Xingu leaders have been sealing off roads into their reserve, which is almost the size of Belgium, and urging local residents to leave only in emergencies.”

ACCURACY: FAIR. Xingu N.P is 10.2 million sq miles. Belgium is 11.8. Rwanda would have been a better comparison.