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Gaza Fixer: A chronicle of survival
08 Oct 2010 04:39 GMT
The Hungarian government has declared a state of emergency after a flood of chemical waste burst from a reservoir at an aluminium plant near the village of Kolontar [AFP]
The red, toxic sludge flooded the village of Kolontar, killing at least four people and injuring another 120. Three people are still missing [AFP]
Many have suffered from burns and eye irritations caused by corrosive elements in the mud, and hundreds have been evacuated from their homes [AFP]
In the village of Devecser, the sludge flooded some 400 homes, and 40 people had to be rescued in the neighbouring town of Somlovasarhely. In Kolontar, the rushing sludge reached a height of two metres [Reuters]
The red sludge has wiped out life from the Mosoni-Danube river, a southern branch of the Danube river, one of Europe(***)s largest waterways. Officials said that the Marcal, a tributary to the waterway, has also been devastated by the sludge [EPA]
High alkaline levels have destroyed the ecosystem of the Marcal river. The corrosive waste, which could contain heavy metals, entered the Danube at around midday local time (10:00 GMT) on Thursday [AFP]
The torrent of sludge has poured into fields and farmland, killing livestock and wild animals. Agricultural land will be unfit for growing crops for human consumption for quite some time [AFP]
There have been conflicting reports about whether the sludge contains radioactive material, but according to workers on the ground, early tests have not found evidence of radiation [AFP]
Around 500 people were involved in the clean-up operation in Kolontar using high-pressure water jets to clean roads and houses [Reuters]
Emergency crews poured hundreds of tonnes of plaster and acetic acid into the rivers to neutralise the alkalinity on Thursday [Reuters]
According to MAL, the Hungarian Aluminum Production and Trade Company that owns the Ajka plant, the red sludge is not considered hazardous waste under European Union standards [AFP]
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