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Grassroots International
Grassroots International

Your gift today will boost efforts on-the-ground to recover from catastrophic flooding caused by faulty dams. Make a gift! »

Dear Friend,

Two dams owned by transnational mining companies have burst in Brazil, sending a flood of toxic mud and wastewater into neighboring villages. Your support is urgently needed.

The pictures and reports coming from the ground are devastating.

Homes washed away in an instant … cars tossed around like they were toys … people swept away in the torrent … the once verdant countryside leveled and coated in thick clay-colored sludge.

Early estimations from authorities are that over 2,000 people are affected, with over 600 people evacuated (many rescued by helicopter), hundreds left homeless, and dozens of people who are still unaccounted for feared dead.

The real tragedy is that the devastation was entirely preventable. Negligence in the name of profit by the world’s largest mining company (Australian company BHP Billiton) and the largest iron ore producer (Brazilian transnational company Vale) appears to have caused this catastrophe. The companies ignored warnings in 2013 from a study commissioned by the State Prosecutor that concluded weaknesses in the dams could lead to collapse and demanded the creation of an emergency plan and alert system. Communities had been filing complaints on the lack of movement by these mega-corporations and the insecurity of the dams. And, sadly, this is just another in a series of harmful impacts small farmers and fishers, indigenous and working-class communities have experienced when it comes to large-scale dams and mining projects in Brazil.

Our partners in Brazil immediately rushed in to help those affected. Right now they are asking for your support to ensure that displaced families get the help they need, including immediate housing and assistance. They also ask for your generous solidarity to build long-term resistance to hold multinational corporations accountable, ensure that the other remaining dams by the mine are reviewed for their safety and the environmental impacts of the toxic mud are investigated, and make sure affected families are adequately compensated.

In solidarity,

Chung-Wha Hong
Executive Director

P.S. Your gift today will go to help these communities rebuild and to hold mining giants BHP Billiton and Vale accountable for this catastrophe.