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Multiple fatalities feared after dam breaks in Brazil – Daily News


Around 200 people are missing after a dam collapse caused devastation in southeast Brazil, authorities say. There are fears the disaster, which unleashed a torrent of mud towards the town of Brumadinho, caused a number of deaths, with a fire services officer saying there have been reports of ‘several’ fatalities. The dam, controlled by Vale mining company, broke early Friday afternoon, and houses in Brumandinho, in the state of Minas Gerais, were evacuated. Helicopters plucked people covered in mud from the disaster area, including a woman with a fractured hip who was among eight injured people taken to hospital, officials said. A statement from the fire brigade issued in Belo Horizonte city said scores of people were trapped in areas by the river of sludge released by the dam failure. According to the fire service and the civil defense corp, residents living in the lower part of the city have been removed from their houses. A state of emergency has been declared, and an emergency task force along with political leaders from the Minas Gerais government are already at the site of the disaster in Brumadinho. A spokesperson said: ‘The government of Minas Gerais has already designated the formation of a strategic crisis office to closely monitor the actions. ‘Every state apparatus has been mobilised and moved to the Brumadinho region where the disruption occurred, to closely follow the actions and collaborate in what is necessary. We emphasise that, in this first moment, the main concern is to provide all the assistance to the victims.’ . Alexandre Lucas, national secretary for Civil Defence, said: ‘The entire federal government is already mobilised to act in the relief and response to the rupture of the dam in Brumadinho. A National Civil Defence team headed by me is already moving to the region to support state and municipal operations.’ Share this article Share Vale is Brazil’s largest mining company. Two hours after the accident, Vale stocks fell 10 percent on the New York Stock Exchange. President Jair Bolsonaro sent a tweet saying he lamented the incident and was sending the three cabinet ministers to the area. Vale Mining Company issued a statement lamenting the accident, saying: ‘Vale reports that, at the beginning of this afternoon, Dam 1 of Feijão Mine was broken in Brumadinho (MG). ‘The company deeply regrets the accident and is making every effort to help and assist those affected. ‘There were employees in the administrative area, which was hit by the (mud slide), indicating the possibility, not yet confirmed, of victims. Part of the Vila Ferteco community was also hit. ‘Rescue and care of the wounded are being carried out on site by the Fire Department and Civil Defence. There is still no confirmation as to what has caused the accident. ‘The top priority of the company right now is to provide support and to help preserve and protect the lives of employees and local communities. ‘Vale will continue to provide information as soon as it is confirmed.’ Vale said there were employees in the administrative buildings of the dam that were covered by the surge of mud and water and there could be casualties in that area. The mud hit parts of the local community Vila Forteco, near the town of Brumadinho, where families were told to evacuate their homes in low-lying areas, authorities said. Brazil’s environmental protection agency Ibama said the dam that burst on Friday held 1 million cubic meters of tailings, much less than the 50 million cubic meters in the 2015 disaster. Former environmental minister and presidential candidate Marina Silva said Brazilian authorities and private miners had not learned anything from the 2015 disaster and called it unacceptable. ‘Three years after the serious environmental crime in Mariana, with investigations still ongoing and no-one punished, history repeats itself as tragedy in Brumadinho,’ she said in a Twitter post.

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