A month on from Brumadinho

Inhabitants of the Minas Gerais municipality affected by Vale mining company achieved “landmark victory” said Tchenna Maso of MAB

On February 20th, a Brazilian court ordered transnational corporation Vale SA to grant every person affected by the Brumadinho environmental massacre a minimum wage for 12 months, and in addition, each family will receive 400 reals, which is the value of a basic food basket in that South American country.

The Movement of People Affected by Dams in Brazil (MAB) welcomed this landmark decision. Tchenna Maso, coordinator of MAB, was present at the judicial hearing. In an interview with Real World Radio, she explained what this ruling entails.

MAB and Vale had met seven times before to coordinate emergency measures the company should implement to respond to the needs of the people affected and they had refused to provide economic subsidies for the damage caused. The judge´s ruling does not give them the option to continue being negligent anymore.

The judge also ordered the creation of an independent technical assistance -to be chosen by the people affected- and the hiring of an independent company to register those who are under an emergency situation in Brumadinho and the Paraopeba River, actions that so far had been in the hands of the transnational mining company.

MAB and Vale SA will meet again on March 7th to discuss other outstanding issues, such as the situation of workers and their labor rights -especially those of “outsourced” workers, finding and identifying the missing people and assessing the situation of five other dams that are at imminent risk of collapsing, just like what happened in Brumadinho, although other 218 of the 24,000 dams in Brazil also present risks for the nearby communities.

A month on

A month on the collapse of the dam of Vale mining company in Brumadinho (January 25th) which poured toxic mud over this municipality, destroyed houses, schools, cars and advanced through Paraopeba River, the number of people affected amounts to 20,000. 169 people have died and there are still 161 missing and 135 displaced people, added to the total loss of crops in the area.

“There are children in shock after seeing how the mud torrent advanced. Many women are distraught for their families; the majority of mining workers are men, so women have been left in charge of homes”. But also, the outrage of the people is such that they are participating even more in the assemblies called by MAB and they are mobilizing for justice.

Today, February 25th, MAB will organize solidarity and protest actions in Córrego do Feijão, Brumadinho, Belo Horizonte and other communities for the families affected, to warn the society about the social and environmental consequences of this crime, which destroyed the Paraopeba River ecosystem and left serious consequences which will be felt throughout all the San Francisco River Basin.



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