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Hungary readies dam to stop toxic spill

A rescue worker removes a gate in a garden in Devecser, Hungary.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

BILL RADKE: In Hungary, police have arrested the director of an aluminum company that set a deadly flood of poison sludge into the Hungarian countryside. And Hungary's parliament has voted to take control of the company. The BBC's Duncan Kennedy joins us live with more. Good morning, Duncan.

DUNCAN KENNEDY: Hi Bill. Yeah, a couple of things going on here...

RADKE: Yes. Tell us how are authorities dealing with the problem, Duncan. Go on.

KENNEDY: Well there are a couple of things going on. Those police are continuing to question the boss of MAL over things like endangering public safety and causing damage to the environment. And the government here, as you said, has stepped in to take over temporary running of the business. At the same time they reckon they'll complete the emergency dam in the next few hours. I have to tell you, Bill, it's a massive thing, nearly a mile long and as high as a small house. They think that even if the reservoir wall caves in again, as it did a week ago, this dam will be able to trap what comes out.

RADKE: And Duncan, how quickly will those people affected be able to go back home?

KENNEDY: Well, they reckon that people in the main village worst hit can get back to their homes by Friday. But I have to tell you, when I was the village a day or so ago, we saw living rooms with two inches of sludge still in them. I also saw someone's wardrobe full of this toxic slurry, even a woman's handbag coated in it, so there's still a lot of clearing up to do. There's also a ton of dust in the air because it's hot here and the sludge is drying out, so people are being told they must wear their masks. They have also been doing more checks on rivers nearby and they're much cleaner now, but this whole tragedy isn't over yet as we're expecting the first funerals of the eight people who died to begin in the next few days, Bill.

RADKE: That's the BBC's Duncan Kennedy. Duncan, thank you.

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