.- A Catholic bishop’s hunger strike protesting a controversial river diversion faced a further setback when the Brazilian Supreme Court overruled a lower court decision halting the project, the Agency France-Presse reports.
The lower court had halted the project on the ground that an environmental impact study had not been carried out. The $3 billion hydroelectric project involves the construction of 450 miles of canals and lakes to irrigate the dry region.
Bishop Flavio Luiz Cappio, of the town of Sobradinho, has been on a hunger strike for 23 days to protest the dam. His spokesman, Father Rubens Siquiera, told AFP that "as the court's decision was read out, Bishop Cappio fainted." Father Siquiera said the bishop “was greatly discouraged” when he returned to consciousness and would issue a reaction later.
The Vatican and the Brazilian Catholic Church have urged the 61-year-old Bishop Cappio to end his hunger strike. The bishop has lost 18 pounds and is beginning to suffer renal failure.
Bishop Cappio has rejected as “insufficient” government proposals to help the affected inhabitants of the region.