Hungary presents new homes to toxic spill families
(KOLONTAR) - Top government officials presented more new homes to villagers in western Hungary Thursday whose houses were destroyed in the country's worst chemical disaster yet nine months ago.
"We have built 21 new homes in Kolontar and 90 in Devecser," state secretary for communication, Zoltan Kovacs, told journalists on a media trip to the region devastated when the retaining walls of a reservoir at a nearby alumina plant burst in October.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban was also present, as was Interior Minister Sandor Pinter who said that "by October 4, the first anniversary of the disaster, we will have resolved the problems of everyone affected".
The spill sent 700,000 cubic metres (24.7 million cubic feet) of poisonous, stinking red-coloured mud across an area of some 10 square kilometres (3.9 square miles), killing 10 people, injuring 150 and leaving hundreds more without homes or livelihood.
It also wiped out almost all waterlife in rivers and streams in the immediate vicinity and even spread to the Danube.
The government has put the estimated clean-up costs at 80 million euros ($113 million).
Interior minister Pinter said the government was still awaiting the green light from Brussels to compensate local businesses affected by the spill, but that decision was expected within the next two weeks.
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