SA mourns with Brazil after dam disaster

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has conveyed condolences to the people of Brazil following the collapse of a mining dam in south-eastern Minas Gerais.

Over 60 people died and hundreds remain missing after a tailings dam, owned by mining giant Vale, collapsed on Friday afternoon.

“As the people of South Africa, we join the people of Brazil in mourning the loss of their loved ones. Our prayers are with you and we hope those yet to be found will be recovered as soon as possible,” said President Ramaphosa on Monday.

Rescuers have been trying to recover bodies and search for survivors, but three days after the humanitarian and environmental tragedy, the chances of finding people alive are remote.

The over half of the missing people are employees of Vale, which owns the iron ore mine. Some residents of the area are also unaccounted for.

A large number of employees were having lunch in a company cafeteria located just below the dam when it burst and unleashed a flow of toxic mud.

Rescuers believe the flow of mud swept the cafeteria and a local hotel away, making them difficult to be located.

The Brazilian government has promised a full investigation into the matter. President Jair Bolsonaro and Minas Gerais state Governor Romeu Zema flew over the destroyed region and promised manpower to aid the rescue, and resources to help the region recover. –