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Peter Pallanki dresses his wounds at a friend's house in Ajka. Peter suffered severe chemical burns when he attempted to save family members and waded through toxic mud for hours during the Ajka alumina plant disaster. Six months after the spill, Peter's knee still bears a gaping wound that is not healing properly. Peter's family members also suffered chemical burns. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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The No. 10 reservoir of Ajka alumina complex, normally filled with red mud, lies hardened and dried. The mud is the waste product of a process which refines bauxite into alumina to form aluminium oxide. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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A factory worker at the Ajka alumina plant. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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The Ajka alumina plant. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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A photo of Tibor Orsos's mother hangs on the wall of his new home, purchased with money provided by the Hungarian government after his old home was destroyed in the Ajka alumina plant disaster. Tibor, a member of the Roma minority, helped several victims of the flood to safety. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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Tibor Orsos in his house that was damaged in the Ajka alumina plant flood and now awaits demolition. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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A run-off pool for drainage near the No. 10 reservoir of Ajka alumina, six months after the reservoir's dam broke. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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Tibor Orsos's house, ruined in the Ajka alumina plant disaster and now awaiting demolition. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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Tibor Orsos's family members and children in his new home. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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A house stained by toxic red mud during the Ajka alumina plant disaster awaits demolition. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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Laszlo Kurucz, a Roma, holds his 5-month-old son Laszlo in the new home he bought with funds from the Hungarian government. The family views the experience as an opportunity to better integrate into the local community. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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Eva Kurucz shows chemical burns incurred during the Ajka alumina plant disaster. Eva spent four hours immersed in the toxic mud. When she was first brought to the hospital, doctors did not think she would survive. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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A chandelier is all that remains in the living room of this Roma residence after it was damaged in the Akja alumina plant disaster. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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A Hungarian representative of the EU Commission surveys the No. 10 reservoir of the Ajka alumina complex six months after a dam broke, resulting in one of the worst environmental disasters in Hungarian history. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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A house lies in ruins just meters from the Ajka alumina plant's No. 10 reservoir. The house will remain as a memorial to one of the worst environmental disasters in Hungarian history. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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Zsolt Weisz sits in his new home, purchased with support from the Hungarian government after his old home was destroyed in the Ajka alumina plant disaster. He and his wife work transporting butane gas to locals, but their vehicle was damaged during the floods and the couple is finding it hard to get by. Zsolt suffers from post-traumatic stress and cries very easily. Both he and his wife suffered chemical burns during the accident. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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A tree in the Kastelypark, stained by toxic red mud during the Ajka alumina plant disaster. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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Dora Juhasz, aged 3, with her pregnant mother in a temporary home donated by a local relief agency after the Ajka alumina plant disaster destroyed their old home and killed her younger sister. Dora, who swallowed large quantities of toxic mud, is showing signs of lead poisoning, including extreme behavior changes, short attention span, and metal growing on her teeth. Image by Nadia Shira Cohen. Hungary, 2011.
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On Oct. 4, 2010, the northwest corner of the dam at the No. 10 reservoir of the Ajka alumina plant collapsed, flooding the nearby towns of Kolontar and Devecser with 35 million cubic feet of red mud. The mud is a waste product of the process by which bauxite is refined into alumina, a form of aluminium oxide. As a result of the spill, 10 people were killed, more than 100 injured, and many left homeless. Six months later, nearby residents remain uncertain of their safety.

Project

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Poorly regulated mining and refining facilities are causing enormous devastation, while corporate interests are pushing ever harder to exploit the untapped mineral resources of the continent.

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