Toxic Sludge Floods Hungarian Towns
4 dead, ecological catastrophe looms
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2010 1:20 AM CDT
An aerial view of the red mud covering streets and neighborhood of Kolontar, southwest of Budapest, Hungary.   (AP Photo/MTI, Gyoergy Varga)
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(Newser) – A flood of toxic red sludge from an aluminum plant has engulfed several villages in Hungary, killing at least four people and threatening to become an ecological disaster as it approaches the Danube River. At least six people are missing, and 120 have been injured, some with serious burns from the caustic and radioactive sludge, AP reports.

Villagers described a 12-foot wall of sludge sweeping toward them after a reservoir at a metal refinery burst its banks. "I looked outside and all I saw was the stream swelling like a huge wave," a widow recalled. "I lost all my chickens, my ducks, my Rottweiler, and my potato patch." Hungarian government officials, who report that the cleanup will take at least a year, have declared a state of emergency in an area home to close to a million people.

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