Greater than 50 individuals had been killed and 300 others lacking after a dam owned by mining firm Vale burst in Brazil, unleashing a torrent of mud and iron ore waste that engulfed places of work and a cafeteria the place employees had been consuming lunch.
Rescue groups are desperately looking for survivors of the incident, which passed off in Brumadinho, within the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, on Friday afternoon.
“Rescue and care of the wounded is being carried out on website by the Fireplace Division and Civil Protection. There’s nonetheless no affirmation as to the reason for the accident,” Vale mentioned in a press release Saturday.
As of Sunday night, 58 individuals had been confirmed lifeless, a quantity that was anticipated to rise, and dozens of others hospitalized. At the very least 366 individuals had been rescued from the scene, based on civil protection officers.
Based on the corporate’s web site, roughly 250 individuals had been nonetheless unaccounted for Saturday.
“I’ve no phrases to explain my grief, my nice disappointment, my disappointment, with what has simply occurred. It’s one thing past and above something I may have imagined. I wish to categorical my solidarity and say that every one of Vale will do no matter [is] potential and unimaginable to assist the affected individuals,” Vale President Fabio Schvartsman mentioned in a video posted on Twitter.
The disaster comes three years after the collapse of the bigger Bento Rodrigues dam in the identical state, additionally owned by Vale, which killed 19 individuals.
“Vale is a really critical firm. We have now made an enormous effort from the viewpoint of creating certain our dams are in the very best situation. We use all forms of expertise, particularly after the Mariana accident. The listing of actions which have been undertaken is countless to make sure the soundness and security of these dams,” Schvartsman continued.
“Sadly, this breach occurred. That is inexcusable, besides, I nonetheless apologize to all these affected and to the entire of Brazil. And I wish to say that we are going to do the whole lot that’s mandatory to handle this challenge within the right manner.”
President Jair Bolsonaro known as the incident a “tragedy.”
In a sequence of tweets Saturday morning, he introduced a coordinated effort to “monitor the actions of reduction, help, reestablishment of affected important providers, ecosystem restoration and reconstruction.”
Environmental activists are involved that the torrent of mining waste may result in widespread contamination.
The Bento Rodrigues dam catastrophe has been known as the worst environmental catastrophe in Brazil’s historical past, releasing 50 million tons of iron ore waste that United Nations consultants mentioned contained “excessive ranges of poisonous heavy metals and different poisonous chemical substances.”
“This new catastrophe with a mining waste tailings dam — this time in Brumadinho — is the unhappy consequence of a lesson not learnt by the Brazilian state and mining corporations,” mentioned Greenpeace’s Brazil division in a press release.
“Circumstances like these will not be accidents however environmental crimes that needs to be investigated, punished and repaired.”