Sodexo Fatality in Brazilian Dam Tragedy
The tragedy, near the town of Brumadinho in the inland state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil, claimed at least 142 lives, with rescuers continuing their search for 142 people who have been reported missing. It is believed to have been caused when a dam wall failed and released 11.7 million cubic metres of "tailings" (sludgy waste material) from operations at the nearby Vale mine.
According to reports, the incident occurred as contractors for Brazilian mining major, Vale, were installing monitoring equipment in response to a the finding of a a routine TÜV SÜD inspection that the dam was stable but suffered drainage issues.
The “upstream” method used to construct the dam which relies on tailings, rather than rock and groundsoil to contain waste, has been criticised. In November 2015, nineteen people died when the Fundão dam which is also situated in Minas Gerais failed.
The Sodexo employee worked in the mine's restaurant and is one of 600 people who are believed to have been in the vicinity of the restaurant and an adjacent administrative complex at the time of the disaster.
In a joint statement, Sodexo Chairwoman, Sophie Bellon and CEO Denis Machuel, said:
“Our hearts and our thoughts go out to the family of our colleague, as they do to the families of our employees who are still missing, and all those who have lost loved ones in this terrible disaster. We salute the courage and dedication of the rescue workers. We and the Sodexo community feel immense solidarity with our Brazilian family – our colleagues, clients, suppliers, and those they hold dear in this tragic time.”