After the reservoir burst, around 184 million gallons of alkaline mud were released across 15 square miles of farmland and populated area. The wave of red mud slammed the nearby village of Kolontar, drowning 10 people in process. Soon the downtown of Devecser fell under the toxic sludge, where it has contaminated hundreds of homes and seriously burned unprepared locals.
Hungary toxic sludge incident forced the evacuation of at least 400 residents, destroying their homes. Approximately 7,000 people are believed to have been directly affected by the spill influence. The injured were closely monitored because the chemical burns caused by the sludge could take days to emerge.
Hungarian doctors were prepared for the emergency measures however the scope of the accident didn't allow detailed examinations. What seemed like superficial injuries later caused damage to deeper tissue because of the caustic effect thick, highly alkaline red substance had a on the skin.
The toxic sludge contains heavy metals such as lead and is slightly radioactive. Inhaling its dust could cause lung cancer. The total sludge damage on health isn't possible to evaluate yet. Only in the future will we have better understanding of the long-term consequences from such extensive industrial catastrophe.
Endangered animal population
Several animal protection agencies sent veterinary supplies to Hungary in order to help animals caught up in the toxic sludge leak. Aid packages arrived constantly, containing much needed rubber boots, clothes, diapers, citric and vinegar acid. As the sludge poured through the villages, dogs, cats and other wildlife, fell victim as well. Numerous carcasses were found in the toxic river and some of the unfortunate animals succombed to acidic burns from the sludge.
Locals constantly collected the surviving animals, and the red eyed pets are being carried around in barrows, because their injuries paralyzed them. The case was similar with the livestock in the area. The damage to the wildlife can't even be appraised. Hunters also collected many dead and injured animals including deers, foxes, rabbits and wild boars.
Further damages is to fauna and flora expected, as the materials used in rescue operations and to neutralise alkaline were toxic as well. Some burned animals and plants died instantly, while others wil face the consequences of serious metal poisoning in the longer run. The river Marcal's dead fish stock shows that the most of the aquatic animals have been strongly affected with to the environmental pollution.