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700 people evacuated in Brazil amid fear of new dam disaster

About 700 people living near two mining dams in Brazil have been evacuated as a precaution after another dam burst and left at least 157 people dead two weeks ago, the companies operating them said on Friday.

The dam operated by the Brazilian mining giant Vale ruptured in Minas Gerais state and unleashed a sea of toxic sludge over the surrounding areas.

The confirmed death toll stands at 157, while more than 180 are missing.

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The national mining agency has now ordered the evacuation of about 500 people from a downstream area of the Gongo Soco mine dam near the city of Barao de Cocais, Vale said.

“The decision was made as a preventive measure after the consulting company Walm denied the Stability Condition Report of the structure,” the statement added.

About 200 people living near Itatiaiucu, downstream of the Serra Azul dam, were also evacuated, its operator, Arcelor Mittal, said.

The “purely precautionary measure’’ was taken following stress tests commissioned by Arcelor Mittal, “while further testing is undertaken and any mitigation measures can be implemented,” according to the statement.

Both tailings dams are located in Minas Gerais. It was not known when the people, who were evacuated would be able to return home.(NAN)