In Barra Longa (MG), 6 of the 11 people diagnosed with

“I have an infected daughter who the medical team has already told me: ‘Simone, your daughter will hardly be able to enter into adulthood due to the contamination she has in her body.’ So I can’t stop. As long as I have life, I have to fight”.

The report by Simone Silva, a resident of Barra Longa (MG), is the synthesis of the despondency and indignation in which hundreds of families in the municipality live – the only one whose urban center was taken by the mud of Vale/Samarco/BHP Billiton.

His daughter, Sofya, was just ten months old when the Fundão Dam, in Mariana (MG), collapsed exactly 6 years ago, killing 19 people and dumping around 50 million cubic meters of iron ore tailings along the Basin. of the Rio Doce.

Since the crime, they began to show the first symptoms of intoxication. Today, in addition to infections in the intestine and the brain, the 7-year-old girl has respiratory and skin problems, and since the beginning of the pandemic, she has not left home.

In 2017, almost two years after the breakup, Sofya and 10 other residents of Barra Longa (MG) participated in a study by the Health and Sustainability Institute (ISS), the first more in-depth toxicological diagnosis of the population of the small municipality.

The research found that they all had a high level of nickel metal in their blood and an abnormal amount of arsenic.

Today, to Brazil in fact, Simone reveals that of the 11 people who participated in the survey, 6 died.

“People were losing body parts. They cut a little piece of the finger, then they cut a foot, then a leg, the train here is very serious. And it’s not for lack of screaming that no one knows that. If 11 took the exam, and 6 died, the situation is critical, people”, he says.

The collection of blood samples was carried out in people aged between 2 and 92 years, and who were already showing health problems after the breakup, on November 5, 2015.

Evangelina Vormittag, who coordinated the research at the time, confirmed the Brazil in fact that the Instituto Saúde e Sustentabilidade has not monitored the patient chart since 2018 – some, such as Sofya’s case, even traveled to São Paulo (SP) to be treated at the Hospital das Clínicas. The doctor was aware of 2 deaths.

Vale/Samarco/BHP Billiton, through the Renova Foundation, never accepted the results of the analyses, and still maintain in their official vehicles that the tailings are not toxic.

Sofya’s treatment is now funded through a court decision, as Renova refused to guarantee and acknowledge the seriousness of the child’s health condition.

Construction of the new Exhibition Park, in front of Volta da Capela / Pedro Stropasolas

Racism in the reconstruction of the municipality

In Barra Longa (MG), the reconstruction and cleaning of the municipality by the mining companies, under the responsibility of the Renova Foundation, was carried out without removing the population.

Some places were more impacted, such as the Volta da Capela neighborhood. In the community, which has a predominantly black population, a large part of the waste from the ore removed from the city was deposited.

“Many who had contact with mud, came up with cancer like that out of nowhere. And cancer was eating the person all of a sudden, a person who has never had a problem in his life”, reveals Sofya’s mother, highlighting the practice of environmental racism by the mining companies.

Last year, the carrying out of a study, at the request of the Interfederative Committee (CIF), was one of the most recent proofs of the exposure of 5,000 inhabitants to heavy metals leaked from the Fundão Dam, exactly 6 years ago.

The report by the company Ambios Engenharia, with extensive experience in the area, classified the municipality of Barra Longa as an imminent risk to human health due to contamination of the soil, water and air.

The research, however, was refuted by judge Mário de Paula Franco Júnior, from the 12th Court of Belo Horizonte, who even classified the analyzes as “useless, useless, inadequate”.

“Evidence, we have it. Documents, we have. Studies and more studies. But who will do justice? Where are we going to get this justice?”, concludes Simone Silva.

Other side

O Brazil in fact he sought out the 12th Federal Civil and Agrarian Court of SJMG, but did not get a return.

Check out the responses sent by the Renova Foundation to the Brazil in fact, on the issues raised in the article:

1) Regarding the health of those affected, in 2017, almost two years after the breakup, Sofya Silva – daughter of the resident of Barra Longa (MG) Simone Silva – and 10 other residents of the municipality participated in a study by the Health and Sustainability Institute, about the possible contamination of the population by heavy metals from the discharged tailings from the dam.

The Renova Foundation clarifies that, as established by the Term of Transaction and Adjustment of Conduct (TTAC), the institution has been complying with all the actions foreseen and intended to provide support for the assistance to the Municipality of Mariana in the execution of the health and health action plans. social assistance to care for affected families and those who suffered physical displacement. So far, around R$ 16 million have been invested in the municipality for these actions.

In the areas of health and social protection, the Renova Foundation supports the municipality by increasing public policies and hiring around 30 professionals – including doctors, physiotherapists, dentists, occupational therapists, social workers and psychologists, through an outsourced company . The activities of these professionals are under the management of the Municipal Health and Social Development and Citizenship Department.

Other complementary professionals have also been hired directly by the Municipality of Mariana, with funding from the Renova Foundation, as per the Legal Agreement signed. In May 2020, the Renova Foundation also delivered the new Children and Youth Psychosocial Care Center (CAPSij).

The space was renovated and expanded by the Foundation, enabling improvements in the care, treatment and reception of children and adolescents with severe and persistent mental disorders in Mariana (MG) and region. The works are part of the commitment signed between the institution and the Municipality of Mariana. The city’s Health Department manages the new center, which has comprehensive care provided by a multidisciplinary team, made up of clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, sociologists and art therapists.

In Barra Longa, the Foundation transfers approximately R$ 8 million to strengthen the municipality’s public health services. The transfer is the result of a court agreement signed between the municipality of Barra Longa, the Renova Foundation and its sponsors. The health care of the Barra Longa community has been provided since the collapse of the Fundão dam, in 2015. As of 2016, the Renova Foundation has made available health and social care professionals to the Unified Health System (SUS) and the Unified Social Assistance System (SUAS).

2) Research showed that all had nickel in their blood and arsenic levels above normal. Today (4), in an interview with Brasil de Fato, Simone Silva revealed that of the 11 people who participated in the survey, 6 have already died.

The Renova Foundation clarifies that the Human Health Risk Assessment (ARSH) studies carried out in Mariana, Barra Longa and Linhares require additional data for their results to be conclusive, by court order. For the other areas, the documents for the beginning of the studies were prepared and are awaiting manifestations by the court. The ARSH studies will serve as a basis for the development of epidemiological and toxicological studies. The subject of health is one of the priority areas under discussion at the 12th Federal Court, in Belo Horizonte.

3) Is the Renova Foundation aware of these deaths reported by Simone? Sofya’s mother also alleges that Renova refused to pay for the girl’s health care, now 7 years old. What does Renova have to comment on this claim?

Out of respect for the privacy of those affected, the Renova Foundation does not publicly comment on specific cases. For this service, those affected rely on service and dialogue channels.

Edition: Leandro Melito

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