Peru declares emergency after mining dam collapse
Lima (AFP) July 6, 2010
Peru declared a 90-day state of emergency Tuesday in the country's southeast following the collapse of a mine's tailings dam polluted surrounding rivers and farming fields, the Environmental Ministry said.
Government officials said animals and wildlife as far away from the mine as 70 kilometers (43 miles), in the Andean region of Huancavelica, had been affected by outpouring of toxic metallic waste, prompting officials to issue the alert.
Hundreds of trout in the Opamayo and Escalera rivers have already been found poisoned with lead and other toxic metals from the Caudalosa Grande metal mining complex, after the tailings dam collapsed on June 26.
Over 700 miners have begun clean-up efforts, as the Environmental Ministry said the government would investigate the collapse and assess whether those responsible needed to face sanctions.
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