By: P. Rodrigues
Brumadinho is a small county in the midst of Minas Gerais, southeast region of Brazil. It is relatively miniscule compared to other areas in the country, and as a consequence, Brumadinho is left without the safety, infrastructure, and support big cities like Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte receives when there is some sort of problem. This was a major issue when the “Barragem de Brumadinho” collapsed recently.
In the 25th of January 2019, Brumadinho’s dam collapsed. It was then categorized as one of the biggest disasters of the decade; killing more than 190 people (115 people are still unaccounted for) and rapidly destroying nearby ecosystems like no tomorrow. Geologist Alex C. Bastos broadcasted that such event will certainly be characterized as one the most catastrophic industrial disasters in the world.
This specific dam at Brumadinho was controlled, administered, and under the supervision of Vale S.A; this is the same company responsible for the previous environmental disaster that happened in Mariana 4 years ago (5th of November 2015). This is then, obviously, the second time the company lacked thorough inspection and did not met the required safety protocols.
Surprisingly, there are currently 45 dams branded as in “high risk” potential. In most cases, government agencies and big corporate affiliated systems were warned about this years ago; yet there are still no recent actions to address such an alarming issue. Many citizens are starting to question if these companies, like Vale S.A, are actually doing something to preserve and guarantee the well-being of those next to other dams in nearby areas.
Don’t get me wrong, the deaths as it is, are horrible enough. However, the biggest concern isn’t those directly impacted by the dam’s collapse; it is estimated that more than 40,000 (forty thousand) people will feel some sort of negative impact in the next couple of months. Things like light, water, transportation, food, and many others are being impacted in ways never observed before. Brumadinho is only 65 km from Belo Horizonte (a huge metropolitan city), which means it is used as a link between other areas in Brazil. Many basic commodities and other valuable resources had daily routines in ‘highways’ (more like dirt passages) that crossed Brumadinho – but now? Well, they are simply destroyed. This delays processes and ends up slowing down development and the country’s economy.
In summary, Brumadinho’s dam calamity is a true tragic occurrence that will happen again if there are no immediate actions to obliterate such threats. Many individuals are going to pay the ultimate price, and countless others are going to suffer for months without end.