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Brazil Dam Burst: Mud Advances and Provokes Fish Kill in Minas Gerais

11/16/2015 - 10h00

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FÁBIO BRAGA
SPECIAL ENVOY TO MINAS GERAIS

THIAGO AMÂNCIO
FROM SÃO PAULO

Over the 450 kilometers that the mud from Mariana (in the state of Minas Gerais) has traveled, along the bed of the Rio Doce, residents complain about the potent bad smell.

In addition to the chemical compounds and ore diluted in the waters of the two dams belonging to mining company Samarco that broke on November 5, there is the stench of dead animals.

In the center of the municipality of Resplendor, where the mud arrived on Thursday (12), it is possible to see fish and prawns floating in the now brown river.

There, the residents are most concerned about the disappearance of capybaras, which is seen as an indication of the severity of of the environmental disaster. The city water supply was cut, and the city council is treating and distributing water from a nearby stream via tank trucks.

In the municipality of Governador Valadares, where the water supply was interrupted on November 8 with the mud arriving a day later, the city council resumed water treatment and distribution.

The water of the Rio Doce reached some properties with a yellow tone and a strong odor. The city council claims that is due to residue in the nets and water tanks and says the water is potable. The water supply should only return to normal by the weekend.

16 kilometers from Resplendor, nearly 150 members of the indigenous group Krenak have been blocking Vale's railroad from Vitória to Minas since Friday (13), in protest against the damage caused to the river.

In Mariana, more than one body was found –four currently await identification. Seven victims have already been identified and 15 are still missing.

Translated by SUGHEY RAMIREZ

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