Sunday, November 08, 2015

28 people missing after Brazil dams burst disaster

Twenty-eight people remained missing two days after two dams burst at a major mine in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, wreaking havoc downstream, authorities said on Saturday.

Duarte Goncalves Junior, mayor of the nearby city of Mariana, said the 28 missing people include 13 mining workers from Samarco, the operator of the mine, and 15 residents of local villages, including five children.

So far, only three bodies have been found, and more were likely to be found as the waters begin to recede, he said at a press conference.

There has been confusion over casualties as local authorities had given contradictory numbers of dead and missing.

Brazil's union of iron and base metal industry workers, Metabase, put the number of dead at 15 on Thursday. Adao Severino Junior, the fire chief in Mariana, said later that 17 people were killed with more than 40 missing.

Two tailings dams holding back 7 million cubic meters of mineral residue and 55 million cubic meters of water from the Samarco mine broke on Thursday and unleashed a torrent of mud and clay, which tore through everything in its path.

Most of the damage was focused on the community of Bento Rodrigues, 35 km from the center of Mariana and 125 km away from Belo Horizonte, the capital of mineral-rich Minas Gerais state.

Bento Rodrigues was completely swamped by the torrent, but firefighters said the clay has now solidified, allowing them to press on with rescue efforts and to seek missing people.

Samarco has taken the responsibility of housing 569 people that were displaced from their homes in hotels but dozens still remained in a sports hall that was turned into an emergency shelter by the local authorities.

Ricardo Vescovi, CEO of Samarco, denied on Friday that the dams broke because of earthquake tremors that were felt in the zone shortly before, after a technical evaluation ruled this out.

  Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
  8/11/15

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1 comment:

  1. Authorities reported on Saturday that 28 people remain unaccounted for two days after two dams burst at a mine in the state of Minas Gerais...

    According to Duarte Goncalves Jr., the mayor of the neighboring city of Mariana, the 28 missing individuals include 13 miners from Samarco, the operator of the facility, and 15 local villagers.

    As of press time, only three bodies have been recovered, and more are likely to be retrieved as the waters start to recede. There have been some confusion about casualties as local officials issued conflicting figures of the dead and missing.

    Metabase, the union of iron and base metal industry workers in Brazil, placed the death toll at 15 on Thursday, while Adao Severino Jr., the fire chief in Mariana, stated later that 17 people died and over 40 others are missing.

    Two tailings dams containing 55 million cubic meters of water and 7 million cubic meters of mineral residue from the Samarco mine burst on Thursday, unleashing a torrent of clay and mud that ripped through everything in its path.

    The community of Bento Rodrigues incurred most of the damage as it was totally swamped by the torrent. Firefighters said the clay has already solidified and they can now press on with rescue operations and search for the missing people.

    Samarco has taken the responsibility of accommodating 569 displaced people in hotels. However, dozens are still staying at a sports hall that was converted into an emergency shelter by local officials.
    http://www.ubalert.com/ujdc

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