BUDAPEST: Hungarian authorities began Saturday the evacuation of the village of Kolontar because of the risk of a new toxic sludge spill, the regional chief of disaster relief services told AFP.
With the death toll from Monday's disaster at seven, the reservoir at an aluminium procession plant which released tons of toxic sludge, threatening the river Danube's ecosystem, was said to be close to complete collapse as a new breach opened up.
"The evacuation of Kolontar began at six in the morning (0400 GMT) after we noticed a weakening in one of the reservoir's dykes," Tibor Dobson said.
"The decision to evacuate was taken by Interior Minister Sandor Pinter, who took part in the meeting of the local defence committee early Saturday."
He added that the neighbouring village of Devecser could also be evacuated.
Top officials including Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Defence Minister Csaba Hende, national police chief Jozsef Hatala and the national chief of disaster relief services Gyorgy Bakondi were all at the scene.
Kolontar's 800 inhabitants were evacuated by bus to the nearby town of Ajka and local and international press were also obliged to leave because of the risk.
Dobson said people would be allowed to return after the dyke had been strengthened.