Emergency teams have confirmed that the death toll of the dam disaster in Brazil is now at 60. Last week’s disaster caused a huge mudslide that covered homes located near the large complex owned by Vale SA.
Emergency teams add that close to 300 people are still missing. Yesterday’s search and rescue operation ended with no survivors. The disaster happened near the town of Brumadinho, which has a population of close to 40,000 people.
Several officials have responded to the disaster by saying that the company in charge, Vale SA, has to be held responsible for what happened. The company has said that safety procedures were followed.
Company Has Released Statement
It is currently unclear what caused the dam to burst. Vice President Hamilton Mourao recently said that the government needs to investigate and punish those who are found responsible.
Several officials have supported his comments, including the mayor of Belo Horizonte, Alexandre Kalil, who said that the company’s board of directors should be in jail.
Vale’s President has responded to the criticism and accusations by saying that the company followed safety procedures and recommendations from experts around the world. The company released a statement yesterday in which it mentioned that it had passed tests in the months of June and September.
In recent years, the country has seen similar disasters in other areas. Back in 2015, two dams collapsed, sweeping away houses, cars and anything in its path. The collapse left damage as far as 60 miles away.
Search and Rescue Operation Continues
The disaster left hundreds of families without homes. During the investigation by authorities, it was revealed that the company may have ignored reports mentioning that the dam was vulnerable. The company responded to the criticism by saying that it had been inspected four months before and that all of its licenses were up to date.
The search and rescue operation in Brumadinho continues. Emergency teams have revealed that 292 people are still missing. Some of the missing are said to be employees and residents.
A spokesman for the rescue operation in the town said that the chances of finding survivors are very low. The disaster first swept away the cafeteria, where workers were sitting during the lunch break.
Access Remains Difficult
The disaster has cut off access and made it difficult for authorities to enter. In some places, there is close to 50 ft of mud. Authorities have brought in heavy machinery as well as helicopters for the rescue operation.
The dam involved in the 2015 disaster was owned by Vale and another company. The disaster killed 19 people and left hundreds without homes. The dam collapse is considered the worst environmental disaster in the country.
Previous Settlement With The Government
The company was taken to court and a settlement was reached a while later. The settlement with the Brazilian government was said to be worth around $1.8 billion.
Brazil has several dams and is said to be among the world’s leading dam building countries. Many of its dams are used primarily to produce hydroelectric power.