'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

06 October 2010

The Sludge

No, the sludge isn't a cool new monster movie out in time for Halloween, it's the current living conditions of a few small towns not far from where we are. In fact, it's only about 40 minutes down the road, and we've been there shopping. We haven't seen any fallout yet, however, we are on bottled water for the moment, just in case. See, not far from the town of Devercser was a storage area for the by products of Aluminum production, and the holding walls collapsed.
"The two-metre (six-and-a-half-foot) tide of mud overturned cars, swept away possessions and has raised fears that pollution leeching from it could reach the Danube River.

Among the dead were two children -- aged three and one, said Karoly Tily, the mayor of one of the affected villages, Kolontar.

A 35-year-old man was killed when his car was overturned by the flood and an elderly woman died in her home, said disaster relief team chief Gyorgy Bakondi.

The red mud is a toxic residue left over from aluminium production. It is slightly radioactive, highly corrosive and contains toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic and chromium." (AFP via Yahoo)

The people in this area are mostly poor, and many make their living through selling items in a yard sale/ flea market type environment, so having a few meters of toxic sludge covering everything you own is kind of a problem. The people here also depend heavily on their gardens and their livestock to feed themselves, and on fireplaces for heat in the winter; with all the heavy metal in the mud covering the wood stores many will be out a winters worth of heating ability and the wave killed the livestock, and ruined the gardens. This winter is going to be a catastrophe for this area.
(Look how high on the post the red is, that's how high the wave was. Crazy)
These people had little to begin with, and most everything they had is now ruined.

Here in the American community we are trying to figure out how to get needed items to the people there, but there is little in the way of civil organizations here. There is a Red Cross in town at the moment, but they are only doing a blood drive and we have yet to find the Hungarian equivalent. With a socialist government comes help from the government, help from the government means little ability for average person to help. At this point I'm not sure there is anything we can do, honestly, to help these poor people.
At this point we will continue to try different outlets to get help in, and hope that all goes well. As the sludge is threatening the Danube (one of the major rivers in Europe) things could get very bad here in Hungary very quickly. I'll keep you all posted on the news, and I do ask that you keep these people in your thoughts and prayers.

-The DO


Six said...

What an absolute catastrophe. You guys be careful sweetie and let us know if you need anything.
Like plane tickets. Just saying.

The DO said...

You'll be the first to know:)

Rourke said...

Unbelievable - what a disaster.

Be carefull.


Anonymous said...

Hungarians have made to intentionally to polluted the Danube. They want to destroy the neighboring country Romania, have polluted the Danube purpose because 30% of the territory of Romania is fed with drinking water from the Danube.