According to recent updates, about 110 people have been confirmed dead after a dam collapse in Brazil.
The facility was located in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais and owned by mining company Vale. The failure occurred on 25 of January, 2019. The incident caused mudslides and floods that resulted in numerous fatalities.
At the moment, 238 more people are still missing, Lt. Flavio Godinho, spokesman of state civil defense agency, said. Despite not being able to find anyone from Saturday, 26 of January, rescue crews have not stopped the search for survivors. Even citizens are digging in the mud in search for victims in difficult circumstances.
Tereza Ferreira Nascimento who was searching for her brother using garden tools and her hands, stated: "We have been here since Friday, taking turns between brothers, brothers-in-law, searching for the body so that we can at least give him a dignified burial. So far it has been in vain."
Until now, 5 people associated with the dam collapse have been arrested. Three of them were employed by Vale and two by a German company responsible for the dam's maintenance. According to Vale's CEO, no Vale executive is responsible for the disastrous failure.
Moreover, the mud released covers an area of more than 2 million m2 and it may be contaminated. "This debris is very likely to contain harmful chemical substances. Even if there are no traces of heavy metals, which are the most worrisome, like arsenic, there are others which are sure to be there and will float downstream, as the mud has already reached a river, so, environmentally speaking, it would be best to remove the material," said Miguel Felippe, a professor of geoscience at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora.
Vale is currently conducting an analysis to evaluate the contamination possibility. Company's officials stated that it is too early to say the mud is toxic for sure.
The reason that the mud might be polluted is the concentration of nickel, magnesium, cadmium, iron oxide, ammonia, silica, silt, clay, mercury and arsenic. The quantity of each substance in the mud will determine its level of toxicity.
An amazing video showing the moment of the dam collapse was recently published. Click the link below to watch the footage.