Financial Times: ‘Brazil’s sinking city a virtual ghost town.’

November 17, 2023

This week, The Financial Times featured our ongoing legal case against Braskem in the Netherlands, in which we are representing thousands of individuals affected by the repercussions of rock-salt mining activities in Maceió, Brazil.

In 2018, the lives of tens of thousands of people in the capital of the State of Alagoas in northeast Brazil changed forever. Cracks, sinkholes and earthquakes linked to rock-salt mining activities caused huge damage to their city, forcing 55,000 people to leave their homes, many never to return.

Geological surveys and locals blame the activities of the largest petrochemical company in Brazil, the Braskem Group, for damage to the structural integrity in the area.

The Financial Times highlighted: “Since the problems first emerged in early 2018, some 14,400 properties have been condemned on safety grounds because of the risks of subsidence. The exodus has turned whole blocks in the capital of Alagoas state into virtual ghost towns.”

At Pogust Goodhead, we are representing thousands of victims who have endured a prolonged wait—of over five years—for reparation for the severe consequences stemming from Braskem’s operations.

Featuring photographs from Ricardo Lisboa, victims said that Braskem’s offer of small sums for the damage to their properties is ‘shameful’ and ‘demoralising’.

The Financial Times spoke with a number of victims including Nereu Rezende, a 66-year-old musician who has refused to leave his home because the cost to replace his home recording studio would be prohibitive.  “I built this house brick by brick, If they want me out, they can kill me.”

Global Managing Partner and CEO Tom Goodhead told the newspaper: “What has happened in Maceió is just another example of a large company making vast profits in Brazil, taking from the land and destroying the local environment and the local communities. To make matters worse, they do not act properly and fairly when something does go wrong.”

Read the full article below.

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