WATCH: Deadly Brazil dam collapse was disaster waiting to happen

2019-02-02 13:08
An aerial view of destruction after a tailings dam collapsed at an iron ore mine in Corrego do Feijao near the town of Brumadinho, state of Minas Gerias, in southeastern Brazil on Friday. At least 37 people were killed and around 300 are missing. PHOTO: getty IMAGES

An aerial view of destruction after a tailings dam collapsed at an iron ore mine in Corrego do Feijao near the town of Brumadinho, state of Minas Gerias, in southeastern Brazil on Friday. At least 37 people were killed and around 300 are missing. PHOTO: getty IMAGES

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Lax regulations, chronic short staffing and a law that muffled the voices of environmentalists on mining licenses made the devastating collapse of a dam in southeastern Brazil all but destined to happen, experts and legislators say.

The failure of the dam holding back iron ore mining waste on Jan. 25 unleashed an avalanche of mud that buried buildings and contaminated water downstream. At least 115 people have died, and 248 people remain missing.

But one of the cruelest parts of the tragedy in Brumadinho is that it has happened before: In 2015, mining dams burst in nearby Mariana in what is considered Brazil's worst environmental disaster.

What's more, it could happen again, as many Brazilian states and the federal government move to ease regulation in the name of economic development.

Read more on:    brazil
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