October 15th, 2010
11:17 AM ET

Evacuated residents allowed to return to Hungarian village

Residents who were evacuated from a Hungarian village because of last week's toxic sludge were allowed back home Friday, a government spokeswoman said.

The 500 inhabitants of Kolontar were able to move back home if they wanted, though the village remained closed to the media, said the spokeswoman, who asked not to be named because she was not authorized to speak to the media.

Construction crews finished work this week on an emergency dam meant to protect against a second possible toxic spill from the MAL aluminum plant, located about 100 miles west of Budapest, the government announced.

Officials had earlier said they were certain the plant's reservoir wall would break again, inundating communities with deadly red sludge for a second time, but the government said so far, there has been no structural movement on the endangered section of the wall.

Around 1 million cubic meters of sludge spilled October 4 from the plant's reservoir, according to the country's president. It covered Kolontar and two other towns, killing nine people and injuring more than 100.

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