A house is seen following a dam owned by the Brazilian mine Vale SA, eruption in Brumadinho, Brazil on January 26, 2019. REUTERS / Washington Alves
BRUMADINHO, Brazil (Reuters) ̵
Sirens began before dawn on Sunday, triggered by dangerous water levels at an estuary pond still located in Vale SA ( VALE3.SA ) plant near Brumadinho in the Minas Gerais state.
The evacuation effort diverted attention from a search for hundreds of people missing after Friday's dam break, and released a mud flow, buried the miner's facilities and nearby homes, according to the fire department.
"Our work is totally focused on the evacuation," said Pedro Aihara, a spokesman for the state fire department.
The confirmed death toll rose to 37 bodies found by Sunday morning, the fire department reported.
It already makes the disaster more deadly than a slurry dam collapse on an iron ore less than 100 km east of Samarco Mineracao SA, a Vale joint venture with BHP Group ( BHP.AX ).
This steam break wasted five times the mining waste to a more remote area, burying a small village and polluting a large river in Brazil's worst environmental disaster on record.
Reporting of Gram Slattery; Writing Jake Spring; Editing by Brad Haynes and Kirsten Donovan