AMERICA/BRAZIL - Population still awaiting a court decision five years after the Mariana dam disaster

Friday, 6 November 2020 environment   natural disasters   local churches  

Mariana (Agenzia Fides) - On the afternoon of November 5, 2015, the dam of the Fundão iron mine in Mariana collapsed, causing the death of 19 people and 50 injuries as well as the destruction of countless homes.
The sea of toxic mud devastated the Rio Doce and reached the ocean at Espàrito Santo. Five years have passed and those responsible for the tragedy have not been brought to justice.
In 2019 the crime of murder was withdrawn as part of the ongoing legal proceedings. The deaths caused by the collapse of the dam were considered by the judicial authority as the consequence of the flooding due to the collapse. During this period, the destroyed communities have not been rebuilt and no response has yet been provided for the recovery of the environment.
On the fifth anniversary of the tragedy, Mgr. Vicente de Paula Ferreira, Auxiliary Bishop of Belo Horizonte and Executive Secretary of the Special Commission for Mineral Extraction and Integral Ecology (CEEM) of the Bishops' Conference of Brazil (CNBB) reaffirmed: "On this date, we wish to express our solidarity with all those affected and our commitment to the Common Home".
According to the note from the CNBB sent to Fides, the Commission approves the important points expressed in the "Letter of complaint of the people of Mariana affected by the collapse of the Fundão dam", with which Caritas is developing a partnership: "We demand: a) the restitution of the right to decent housing, including the preservation of the lifestyles of destroyed communities as well as traditional communities; b) economic compensation, knowing that some injured rights are irreparable; c) we also reaffirm medical, psychological, economic and social rehabilitation of individuals and communities; d) support for fair compensation for material and immaterial losses and damages".
According to Mgr. Vicente de Paula Ferreira, the CNBB Mining Commission hopes that criminal disasters of this nature will not be repeated, and in addition to measures for the conservation, restoration of honor, culture and memory of people, there will also be "a public request for forgiveness, which has not yet been presented, so that justice may be done". "We want to renew our commitment to a true ecological conversion - he concludes. We support all those who are victims of such atrocious crimes, as Pope Francis said in the encyclical ‘Fratelli tutti’, so that we can move from a culture that kills to a culture of fraternity and social friendship". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 6/11/2020)