Dam col­lapse toll at Brazil­ian mine rises; 300 miss­ing

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY MANUELA ANDREONI AND SHASTA DARLINGTON New York Times

One woman search­ing for her hus­band col­lapsed on the floor. An­other clutched a photo of her miss­ing daugh­ter and a third shouted at vol­un­teers: “To you, he is just some­one you can sub­sti­tute. But he is my hus­band, the fa­ther of my daugh­ter!”

Scenes of des­per­a­tion played out at a lo­cal school Satur­day in the Brazil­ian town of Bru­mad­inho where hun­dreds of peo­ple waited as res­cue work­ers dug through mud and sludge search­ing for sur­vivors a day af­ter a min­ing dam col­lapse in south­east­ern Brazil left at least 34 dead and al­most 300 miss­ing.

More than 24 hours af­ter the dead­li­est min­ing ac­ci­dent in Brazil’s his­tory, of­fi­cial in­for­ma­tion was scarce. The Civil De­fense of­fice said 199 peo­ple had been res­cued by emer­gency work­ers, but only 23 of their names were tacked on the walls of the makeshift cri­sis cen­ter.

The dam at an open-pit min­ing com­plex is owned by Brazil­ian iron ore min­ing com­pany Vale. The dis­as­ter in Bru­mad­inho comes just over three years af­ter a dam burst in the city of Mar­i­ana, 75 miles away, re­sult­ing in 19 deaths.

The cur­rent calamity is the first ma­jor cri­sis for the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Jair Bol­sonaro, a far-right leader who promised to pare back en­force­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions and to open up pro­tected ar­eas to the min­ing in­dus­try.

The dam rup­tured shortly af­ter mid­day Fri­day, bury­ing nearby homes and a com­pany cafe­te­ria in a tor­rent of sludge. Hopes that more sur­vivors would be found were fad­ing fast Satur­day.

LEO COR­REA AP

Friends and rel­a­tives com­fort them­selves as they wait for in­for­ma­tion about those who dis­ap­peared af­ter a dam col­lapse in Bru­mad­inho, Brazil on Satur­day.

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