North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hungary's Red Flood

A few days ago, Hungary experienced an environmental disaster of its own, when a dam containing a red sludge left over after a bauxite-refining process broke. The wall of sludge flooded through a small downstream village of Kolontar, releasing in 3 hours nearly as many gallons as did the much publicized US Gulf Oil spill this summer (184 million gallons compared to 200 million gallons).

Dam breach - the remaining wall is also in danger of collapse

At least seven people have died as a result of the accident - most of those killed were drowned or swept away in Kolontar. Around 150 people were injured by the spill - many receiving burns.

Now, on Saturday morning, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said it was "very likely" that an entire wall of the reservoir would collapse, releasing a fresh wave of chemical effluent. This would be heavier and thicker than the first spill, and would move slower - but would be even more toxic, says the BBC's Duncan Kennedy at the scene.

Besides those evacuated from Kolontar, police were also telling residents of the neighbouring village of Devecser to pack a single suitcase so they could leave quickly if necessary. Tunde Erdelyi saves her cat while Janos Kis walks into their yard flooded by toxic mud in the town of Devecser, Hungary

In the last few days, residents and emergency workers have worked round-the-clock to remove the worst of the sludge which damaged houses, streets and farmland, and polluted waterways. The red sludge reached the Danube River in 72 hours, but from all accounts, the massive water flow diluted the sludge to the point where authorities did not believe there would be environmental degradation. So Hungary's neighbors, Croatia, and Slovenia In recent decades, the Danube has benefited from a massive cleanup effort involving all 10 countries that share the river. Marine life are again healthy, cormorants have returned to many stretches and the Danube delta emptying into the Black Sea is one of Europe's greatest homes for unique wildlife.

Far downstream at the Danube delta

And so another cleanup effort begins ...

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