on Oct. 8, 2010
A rescue team searches for missing bodies possibly washed away by flooding toxic mud near the village of Kolontar, Hungary.
There has never been a red mud disaster as serious as the one that hit seven villages in Western Hungary on Monday, October 4th.
So far, about 1 million cubic metres (over 35 million cubic feet) of sludge has leaked from the Ajka alumina plant’s reservoir and affected an estimated area of 40 square kilometres (15.4 square miles).
At least four people died in the flood and rescue workers are still looking for six who are missing.
After visiting the village of Kolontar, the state secretary for the environment Zoltan Illes described the situation as the most serious environmental accident the country has ever faced, and called it “an ecological catastrophe.”
The red mud is a toxic residue left over in the production of aluminium, and contains harmful substances such as lead and other corrosive elements.
ISKCON devotees have not been affected by the disaster, as the aluminum plant's reservoir is about two hours drive both from New Vraja Dhama (Krishna Valley) and from Budapest.
Hungarian devotees and Food for Life have been asked by local authorities to assist in supplying as many hot meals as possible in the area. Food distribution started on October 7th and will continue until needed.
The affected areas are expecting a large number of volunteers this weekend to help completely clean the affected landscape from the red mud.
Devotees, therefore, will maximize the number of plates during this time to 1,000 per day served to villagers, rescue workers and volunteers.