Friday, 26 April, 2019


Toll in Brazil dam disaster rises to 121 dead, 226 missing

Rose Silva sits and waits every day for news about her missing cousin Rose Silva sits and waits every day for news about her missing cousin
Kristine Garrett | 04 February, 2019, 07:59

The number of victims identified remains at 71, said an official for regional civil defense.

A week after the collapse of the mining dam in Minas Gerais, in east Brazil, dozens paid homage on Friday to the 115 people killed and 248 still missing. The catastrophic failure of a dam jointly owned by the mining company flooded the river below with toxic iron waste, killing 19 people and displacing hundreds more.

A video aired on local media, has captured the moment a dam at an iron ore mine in south Brazil burst, releasing a wall of toxic sludge and mud.

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That was also the cause of another dam burst, at a mine co-owned by Vale, in 2015.

An internal study showed the miner knew as recently as past year that some of the areas hit were at risk if its tailings dam burst, according to a report by Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. Vale described the document as a routine disaster preparation plan required by regulators. The sledge caused by the dam collapse tracked straight for Vale's cafeteria, where numerous workers were eating lunch.

The internal study reported by the Folha newspaper was dated April 18, 2018, and outlined the likely impact of a collapse at the dam.

The most recent victims were found in a changing room that was buried by more than 20 metres of mud.

The study envisaged that sirens would alert workers if the dam burst.

Authorities and environmental organisations have begun testing water quality around the mining complex, while Brazil's state and federal authorities have told residents not to use water directly from the Paraopeba or 100m around it.

"This tragedy will be remembered not just here but all over Brazil", said 23-year-old Jonatan Silva Santos, who lost friends that worked at Vale. "We are in the investigation phase and we can not say whether the (inspection) model was adequate or not".

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