Last Friday, a dam in the mine Córrego do Feijão collapsed, causing a wave of mud to burst through the town of Brumadinho, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The mine belongs to Vale Do Rio Doce, more commonly called just “Vale”, one of the biggest mining companies in the world. Authorities have confirmed at least 115 people have died, and another 248 people remain missing.
The failure of the dam holding back iron ore mining waste on Jan. 25 unleashed an avalanche of mud that buried buildings and contaminated water downstream. The torrent of sludge cut through the dam’s complex, nearby farms and the neighborhood where many of the workers live, destroying houses and vehicles.
The collapse comes just over three years since a dam burst in Mariana, also in Minas Gerais, killing 19 people, in what is considered Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.
There are reports that the dam’s alarm system – which local residents had been trained to respond to – failed at the time of the accident.
Dozens of trapped people, many of them covered in mud, had to be evacuated by helicopter as roads were destroyed. A woman was rescued from the mud by a helicopter, and if you look closely, you will see her left thigh is broken.
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