Hungary declares emergency over sludge spill

Incident has been described as the worst-ever chemical accident in Hungary.

Budapest: Hungary declared a state of emergency in three western counties on Tuesday due to spill of toxic alumina sludge which has killed three people and injured more than 100 others, the news agency MTI reported.

The counties of Veszprem, Gyor-Moson-Sopron and Vas were covered by the state of emergency.

The disaster began on Monday when the dam of a sludge reservoir burst at the huge Ajkai Timfoldgyar Zrt plant, owned by MAL Zrt, flooding parts of three villages.

State Secretary for the Environment Ministry Zoltan Illes, who visited Kolontar on Tuesday, described the incident as the worst-ever chemical accident in Hungary.

The National Disaster Unit (NDU) denied a report that the sludge reservoir`s dam had broken at a second point, saying crews were pouring plaster into a nearby river to help neutralise the spill.

"We have poured multiple tonnes of plaster into the Marcal River and hope to stem the toxic flow that way. The toxicity of the sludge moderates with every kilometre," NDU spokeswoman Gyorgyi Tottos said.

"We have three people confirmed dead and another person who has not been confirmed to have died from the flood," he said.

The ambulance service had reported 116 injured, eight seriously and one critically and the injured transferred to nearby hospitals.

Bureau Report