Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Five arrested after Brazilian dam collapses, killing 84

An aerial view of the broken dam in Brumadinho Brazil 37 Die, Hundreds Missing After Mud from Collapsed Dam Sweeps Away Workers Eating Lunch in Brazil
Russell Knight | 30 January, 2019, 21:00

Vale is the world's largest producer of the ore, which is the raw ingredient for steel.

The company is also mourning its lost personnel, as the overwhelming majority of those dead and missing in Friday's disaster were Vale employees.

Rescue operations are now counting on the help of aid that has arrived from Israel to assist in the search for the remaining missing victims of the tragedy.

USA investors said they will file a class action against Vale and its executives for failing to disclose environmental risks.

Many in and around Brumadinho, the nearest town to the mine, worked for Vale.

Local authorities said that of the 58 victims, 19 have been identified.

According to the BBC, the incident occurred at a "tailings" dam, which typically hold mining waste.

"I only heard shouting, people saying to get out".

United Nations human rights experts on Wednesday called for a probe into the collapse of a tailing dam in Minas Gerais, Brazil, that killed almost 60 people and left hundreds missing.

Brazilian officials have suspended the search for potential survivors of a dam collapse amid fears that another dam owned by the same mining company was at risk of breaking as well.

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Five individuals were arrested this morning, January 29, in connection with the mudslide caused by the ruptured Brumadinho mining dam in Minas Gerais, say local authorities.

To date, 84 people have been confirmed dead and 276 are still missing.

In an email, Vale told The Associated Press that the area has eight sirens, but "the speed in which the event happened made sounding an alarm impossible" when the dam burst. In an ominous sign, nobody was recovered alive Sunday, a stark difference from the first two days of the disaster, when helicopters were whisking people from the mud.

A Brazilian family is digging through the mud with garden tools and their hands in search of a missing loved one.

Brazilian courts have frozen 11 billion reals (about 2.9 billion US dollars) in Vale's assets to ensure funds are available to indemnify victims while the company's legal team has been alleging the company bears no responsibility for the dam's rupture.

In a statement, Vale said it was working with authorities. However, a United Nations report found that the waste from a similar disaster in 2015 "contained high levels of toxic heavy metals". This led to the worst environmental disaster in Brazil's history as billions of gallons of toxic waste flowed into rivers, killing thousands of fish and leaving 250,000 people without drinking water.

The disaster also tests Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro's leadership skills less than a month after his inauguration and may upend his plans to ease environmental restrictions and boost mining production through reforms in Congress.

A mining specialist at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Jardim Wanderley, told reporters there was "a tendency for companies, in that period of commodity prices falling, to cut safety and maintenance budgets".

"A lot of communities and cities in different states depend on that river to live", said Carlos Rittl, a director at Brazil's Climate Observatory environmental nonprofit group. "I'm just floored by this tragedy", Rosilene Aganetti, a 57-year-old resident in one of the affected villages, told AFP, pointing to an expanse of mud.

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