Mud that kills

Foto: Joka Madruga

Who still remembers the shocking news that went through the media in the aftermaths of 5th of November 2015 about Mariana, Minas Gerais, where did happen the greatest social and environmental crime in Brazil? On this day, when Samarco’s Tailing Dam – owned by Vale and BHP Billiton – broke, 62 million cubic meters of toxic mud flooded the Rio Doce River, as well as entire villages. 19 people were killed.

What does the situation of those affected people look like, now, a year later?

Together with my friend and photographer Joka Madruga, I will follow the path of the mud for the next three weeks. We will start with the fishermen in the village of Regência, at the mouth of the Rio Doces, and we will then go by car and boat, almost 600km upstream, to Bento Rodrigues, in the district of Mariana. Finally, on the 5
th of November 2016 we will join the assembly of the Movement of People Affected by Dams and will join the assemblies of the dioceses and present a first exhibition of the collected material in Bento Rodrigues.

In this way, we will record the stories of those who have been left behind, who have lost everything and have little opportunity to speak. We want to give them the opportunity to give testimony about their daily difficulties, their concerns and current situation. But we also want to show the inhuman treatment committed by he mining company responsible for the crime. With the documentation of the current situation, we hope to contribute to that this terrible environmental crime and its victims are not forgotten and the rights of those affected are not simply ignored.

Foto: Joka Madruga

We will produce a photo exhibition and a documentary from the collected material in order to give to other villages and civil society – at present there are a total of 180 other mining sites in Brazil, which present a similar risk – the opportunity to inform themselves and to form an opinion as to whether the exploitation of nature is justified at any price.

Next year we want to return to the villages and towns along the Rio Doce river with the finished exhibition and documentation. In this second part of our project, it is uttermost important for us to present these pictures and documentaries to the public in public places and thus perhaps contribute to a better networking among those affected.

Our project is supported by cooperation with the Diocese of Colatina (Espirito Santo), Archdiocese of Mariana (Minas Gerais), CPT, Terra Sem Males, MAB, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and Dreikönigsaktion (= DKA).


However, since only a part of the total costs are covered, we are still dependent on any further support. This is not just about financial means, but also about the translation and publication of the collected information.

If you are interested in supporting our project, please donate to the following account:

Hypo Bank Höchst

Spendenkonto Brasilien/ Landpastorale – Thomas Bauer

IBAN AT655800000536495126


Who wants to follow our journey in the next days, feel free to do so on our Facebook-Site: LamaqueMata/ SchlammderTötet/ MudthatKills.

Thanks a lot!

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