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Associated Press Featured Article

October 09, 2010

Hungarian premier visits sludge-hit village


KOLONTAR, Hungary (AP) — Hungary's prime minister has visited one of three villages inundated by red sludge and declared the worst–hit area a write–off.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban says he sees "no sense" in rebuilding in the same location houses made uninhabitable by the torrent that poured Monday from a breached reservoir at a nearby alumina factory.

Local officials say 34 houses in the village of about 800 were so badly damaged by the caustic slurry that they cannot be refurbished. Orban spoke Thursday after an unannounced dawn visit to Kolontar.

There are fears that the toxic torrent will cause serious ecological damage to the Danube after being carried downstream by tributaries. Officials say they expect the sludge to enter Europe's second–largest river by the weekend or early next week.


Related Images:


 Balazs Holczer returns to his house flooded by toxic mud in Kolontar, Hungary, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. Emergency workers and construction crews on Wednesday swept through the Hungarian towns hardest hit by a flood of toxic sludge, trying to clear roads and homes of acres (hectares) of deep red mud and caustic water. Hundreds of people were evacuated after the disaster Monday, when a gigantic sludge reservoir burst its banks at metals plant in Ajka, a town 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Budapest, the capital. The torrent inundated homes, swept cars off roads and damaged bridges, disgorging an estimated 1 million cubic meters (35.3 million cubic feet) of toxic waste onto several nearby towns. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

 Hungarian fire fighters clean a yard flooded by toxic mud in Devecser, Hungary, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. Monday's flooding was caused by the rupture of a red sludge reservoir at an alumina plant in western Hungary and has affected seven towns near the Ajkai, 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Budapest. The flood of toxic mud killed a yet unknown number of people, injured more than one hundred, with some people still missing. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

 Balazs Holczer walks through his backyard which was flooded by toxic mud in Kolontar, Hungary, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. Emergency workers and construction crews on Wednesday swept through the Hungarian towns hardest hit by a flood of toxic sludge, trying to clear roads and homes of acres (hectares) of deep red mud and caustic water. Hundreds of people were evacuated after the disaster Monday, when a gigantic sludge reservoir burst its banks at metals plant in Ajka, a town 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Budapest, the capital. The torrent inundated homes, swept cars off roads and damaged bridges, disgorging an estimated 1 million cubic meters (35.3 million cubic feet) of toxic waste onto several nearby towns. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

 A villager passes by a dead dog killed in a flood of toxic mud in Kolontar, Hungary, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. Emergency workers and construction crews on Wednesday swept through the Hungarian towns hardest hit by a flood of toxic sludge, trying to clear roads and homes of acres (hectares) of deep red mud and caustic water. Hundreds of people were evacuated after the disaster Monday, when a gigantic sludge reservoir burst its banks at metals plant in Ajka, a town 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Budapest, the capital. The torrent inundated homes, swept cars off roads and damaged bridges, disgorging an estimated 1 million cubic meters (35.3 million cubic feet) of toxic waste onto several nearby towns. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

 A Hungarian firefighter stands in front of a pile of cars destroyed by flooding toxic mud in Devecser, Hungary, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. Monday's flooding was caused by the rupture of a red sludge reservoir at an alumina plant in western Hungary and has affected seven towns near the Ajkai, 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Budapest. The flood of toxic mud killed a yet unknown number of people, injured more than one hundred, with some people still missing. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

 An aerial view of a damaged section of a broken dyke of a reservoir that contained red mud of an alumina factory near Ajka, 156 kms southwest of Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. The dyke broke on Monday, and over one million cubic meters of the poisonous chemical sludge inundated three villages, killing an unknown number of persons and injuring over hundred. Three people are unaccounted for and hundreds of families have been evacuated. (AP Photo/MTI, Sandor H. Szabo)

 An aerial view of excavators working at a broken dyke of a reservoir that contained red mud of an alumina factory near Ajka, 156 kms southwest of Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. The dyke broke on Monday, and over one million cubic meters of the poisonous chemical sludge inundated three villages, killing a number of people, injuring over a hundred and causing hundreds of families be evacuated. (AP Photo/MTI, Sandor H. Szabo)

 Map locates area in Hungary affected by a toxic sludge flood

 An aerial view of workers repairing a section of a railway line washed away by red mud in Devecser, 164 kms southwest of Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010, after a dike of a reservoir containing red mud of a metals factory in nearby Ajka broke on Monday, and over one million cubic meters of the poisonous chemical sludge inundated three villages, killing an unknown number of persons and injuring over hundred. (AP Photo/MTI, Sandor H. Szabo)



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