Sludge flood – Gov’t pledges full compensation

Budapest, November 19 (MTI) – Hungary’s government will totally compensate people affected by the toxic sludge flood for damage to property and land before the end of July next year, Interior Minister Sandor Pinter told reporters on Friday.

After a meeting with mayors of the three towns hit by the sludge from a burst reservoir in western Hungary early in October, Pinter said compensation for damaged buildings, movables and agricultural land was estimated at 55 billion forints (EUR 200.5m).

    He said the government had so far spent nearly 5 billion forints (EUR 18.2m) on removing the highly alkaline substance from residential areas and surrounding arable land.

    Pinter told residents of Devecser, Kolontar, and Somlovasarhely that the site of the former disaster no longer posed a health hazard despite recent, “irresponsible statements”. He said that soil tests would be repeated to reassure locals and that a health centre would be set up to provide medical check-ups for those concerned about their condition.