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Cracks 'stable' at burst Hungary reservoir

Officials say that cracks in a burst reservoir in western Hungary, which contains caustic red sludge, are no wider following the recent flooding of local towns.

The reservoir burst last week, with the sludge flooding several towns in the area and leaving at least seven people dead.

Measurements taken in the past 24 hours of the cracks on the northern wall of the reservoir showed no further movement, according to the National Disaster Management Directorate.

The recordings came after experts had expected the wall to fall.

However, locals and staff working on the clean-up operation were warned by health authorities to wear protective equipment due to the amount of red dust hanging in the air. They said the dust exceeded safe limits.

Parts of Kolontar, the town closest to the metals plant’s storage pool, which is 100,000m² in size, have become uninhabitable, and more than 700 residents have been evacuated.

The owners of the plant expressed their condolences to the families of those killed, as well as to those injured – and said they were sorry for not having done so sooner.

Mal Rt, which owns the alumina plant in Ajka, also said it was willing to pay compensation “in proportion to its responsibility” for the damage caused by the deluge.

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