Death toll from Brazil dam disaster reaches 99

RIO DE JANEIRO. KAZINFORM The death toll from the collapse of a tailings dam in Brumadinho, Brazil's southeastern state of Minas Gerais, reached 99 on Wednesday, local authorities said, Xinhua reports.

The dam ruptured on Friday, sending a wave of iron ore waste and mud down the hill, destroying everything in its path, including residential areas, at least two small hotels and a large administrative area of mining giant Vale, owner of the mining complex where the dam was located.

No survivors were found on Wednesday, but rescue workers were able to retrieve the bodies of several victims who were at the Vale refectory below the dam when it collapsed. The refectory area was reportedly full of employees at that time, so more bodies of victims are expected to be found here.

Out of the 99 bodies retrieved, 57 have already been identified. Another 259 people are still missing, and though rescue teams have not called off searches for survivors, the possibility of finding people alive is widely regarded as very remote. No survivors have been found since Saturday.

So far, the muddy waste has traveled almost 100 km down the Paraopeba River. Vale started on Wednesday to install equipment in the river, trying to contain the material and prevent it from reaching the Sao Francisco River, where the Paraopeba disembogues into.

The Sao Francisco River is the longest river that runs in entire Brazil, flowing through five states.

According to Vale's Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman, the company would spend 5 billion reals (about 1.36 billion U.S. dollars) in the coming years decommissioning similar dams and cut 10 percent of its output.

The company has also promised to pay 100,000 reals (about 27,000 U.S. dollars) as compensation to each victim's family.

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