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Families run out of light, water and food after dam rupture in Mato Grosso

by ace

Ana Maria Arruda is still afraid of going to the region hit by the manure dam disruption which took place on Tuesday (1) in the area of ​​mining VM, five kilometers from your home. She lives with her grandson and husband on a small rural property in the community of Capão Bonito, in Nossa Senhora do Livramento, in Mato Grosso.

“I don't want to go there and look, it happens as with people from Minas Gerais. Everything collapses and we all get stuck in the mud, ”says the 49-year-old who lives on subsistence farming like most locals, who also make homemade cheese and pastries.

In the neighboring area, the gold mining company has four Pantanal tractional communities: Tanque Belo, Capão Bonito, Cedral and Brejal, with about 54 families.

“All residents of the communities were without light for three days and many lost the food they stocked. Most of them lost their water after the accident because they did not have access to the artesian wells that supply the houses, ”said Sonia Monteiro Maciel, vice president of Cedral residents' association from above and in the region.

Part of the municipality of Poconé was also hit by the lack of light caused by the power grid disruption during the accident. On Thursday afternoon (3), the light was turned back on. The ruptured dam contained 15-meter-high gold mining remnants with a stored volume of 582,171.51 cubic meters.

Two VM employees had minor injuries. Machine operator Fernando da Silva, 33, and driver Luciano Nascimento, 42, were injured while trying to escape.

The mining dam was one of the first of the 190 in Mato Grosso to be inserted into the National Dam Safety Information System (SNISB). Among the 22 dams in the municipality, the MV tank was the only one to be considered low risk; five others are indicated as medium risk.

The business owner says he still does not know what would be the cause of the breakup. “Even before accident from Brumadinho, we received an inspection and made several restraint measures in addition to the care we already took.

At the moment my concern was to isolate the area. Now is clear all damage. Only the report of the cause of the accident can reveal what happened, ”says Marcelo Takahashi, owner of the VM that leased the area where the dam broke.

The report shall be published in thirty days. The mayor of Nossa Senhora do Livramento, Silmar Souza, visited the accident area on Thursday (3) and says he is also concerned about the possible contamination of the rivers.

“Our concern is that Ribeirão Bento Gomes, which is close to the region, will be hit by waste. The municipal health department collected samples of water contamination from the communities. The result should be announced next week, ”says the mayor. Ribeirão Bento Gomes is Poconé's main source of supply, with 32,000 inhabitants.

Water contamination is one of the possible environmental damages of the dam rupture. As a large part of the local population uses artesian wells, contamination can damage the health of residents of local communities.

The owner of the VM company claims that the dam's waste contained no polluting matter. “They were inert mining tailings. Explaining in a lay way, ore extracted from the mine, crushed and with added water. ”

In January, the creek had a color change in its waters, and VM was one of the companies inspected as a possible cause of damage.

An inspection report from the Mato Grosso Environmental Secretariat attested that there was no connection with the mining company, a Poconé dam was assessed as the cause of pollution.

“Since then we have been measuring water bodies near our area of ​​operation and the artesian wells of our neighbors. No trace of water contamination ever appeared, ”says the VM manager.

According to the mining company, this Friday (4) the entire area hit by the dam's waste was isolated. Even with rain, there is no risk that damage will spread.

Estimates of damage to the affected properties have not yet been estimated and there is no provision for the release of the road that was used as access to the four communities.

“We will have a meeting with the local association to talk to local residents who have been damaged and we will compensate everyone,” says Takahashi.

. (tagsToTranslate) dam disruption (t) accidents (t) sheet

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