Alert issued in Brazil over second imminent dam collapse

Rio de Janeiro: An alarm in the wee hours of Sunday morning was rung in Brumadinho, in south-eastern Brazil, warning of a second imminent rupture of a mining dam in the same region where a dam collapse on Friday left 40 dead and over 300 missing.

Al Jazeera reported that firefighters are continuing to evacuate local residents near the area after the collapse of the dam near an iron ore mine, owned by Brazilian mining corporation Vale, led to spillage of three million cubic meters (over 100 million cubic feet) of waste.

A statement issued by the Vale mining company on Sunday stated that the alarm went off at 5:30am (local time), announcing, “Attention, general area evacuation! Find the highest point in the city.”

A number of helicopters have been deployed to carry out search and rescue operations with some areas of the Brumadinho municipality having been evacuated.

The dam collapse on Friday caused heavy flooding that hit the Brumadinho municipality.

According to Vale company, 427 people were at the disaster-hit area (at the moment of collapse) and 279 were found alive.

CNN quoted local authorities confirming that approximately 345 people reportedly went missing following the incident.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro flew over the disaster zone on Saturday, and later tweeted that it was “difficult to not be emotional before this scene”. He said everything was being done to care for survivors and “determine the facts, to demand justice and prevent new tragedies”.

The military said it has deployed 1,000 soldiers, including sniffer dogs, to the disaster zone.