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The Brumadinho disaster Posted by on Feb 11, 2019 in Biology & Animals, Brazilian News, Brazilian Profile, Culture, Environment, Politics

[Desastre em Brumadinho] It was November 2015 when tragedy broke down in Brazil after a barragem (dam) holding waste from an iron ore mine rompeu (collapsed) in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais. Three years have gone by an nothing seems to have changed, as we now deal with yet another dam collapse, this time even deadlier and more destructive than before. Today we cover the most recent desastre ambiental (environmental disaster) that quite literally been sweeping across our nation.

First of all, you might want to check out these related posts:

The latest tragedy in Brazil

Inhotim

And read this useful words and terms for today’s text:

barragem – dam

rompimento – collapse

mina de minério de ferro – iron ore mine

resgate – rescue

lama – mud

pessoas desaparecidas – missing persons

bombeiros – firefighters

desastre ambiental – environmental disaster

On January 25th, in the city of Brumadinho (where Latin America’s largest open air museum, Inhotim, is located), a barragem (dam) owned by the giant mining company Vale (also involved in the previous disaster) gave way, swallowing up everything that met its path. Regarded as the worst desastre ambiental (environmental disaster) in Brazilian history, the sludge inundou rios (flooded rivers), matou animais (killed livestock), destruiu ecossistemas, construções e casas (destroyed ecosystems, constructions and houses). Not to mention, of course, the perdas humanas (human losses) of an unprecedented 165 victims and 160 desaparecidas (missing), as of today. Outraging data, considering that the previous accident took the vidas (lives) of considerably less, 19 pessoas (people).

The lama (mud) moved at an alarming speed, even engulfing the mine’s administrative area, where a large number of trabalhadores (workers) were having lunch at the time. The alarm did not disparou (go off) as it should have, making it even harder to evacuate the area. As many as 10 km of mudflow has been spilled over, leaving a toxic trail of devastation and being up to 7 feet deep in some places. It has reached rios (rivers) which could possibly contaminate the fornecimento de água (water supply)

Reasons are unclear as to what may have caused the barragem (dam) to break apart. Although initially identified as baixo risco (low risk) with little potential for danos (damage), there have been reports and warnings of a possible vazamento (leakage), thus leading to the theory of negligência (recklessness) and malpractice, since the dam was deemed unstable. The company is currently under investigation and the disaster will be brought under closer scrutiny. Experts have been claiming that our country’s deeply flawed sistema de fiscalização (regulatory system) is to blame for the failure. Either way, the population demands that the culpados (culprits) be held accountable for their actions. The consequences of the economic impact brought by this disaster are still incalculable. Resgates (rescue efforts) are being carried out daily  by bombeiros (firefighters) and volunteers, and crews are working hard to encontrar (track down) the bodies buried under the waste.

It is hard to stay hopeful when the scenario of impunity and negligence means that these tragedies might still happen. We must realize that these pressing concerns must be addressed as soons as possible by the authorities and that environmental groups must be taken seriously.  Our heart goes out to all the families.

It was all caught on video. Watch the perplexing footage of the moment the dam ruptured: 

Boa semana a todos. Great week to all.

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