An environmental expert from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit has travelled to Hungary to support the authorities in dealing with the toxic waste disaster.
On October 4 about 700,000 cubic metres of caustic sludge and water burst from a storage pool of a metals plant, inundating three western Hungarian towns and spilling into the Danube.
At the request of the Hungarian government, the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) sent an expert with practical experience in comparable situations to support the Hungarian authorities. He was set to arrive in the disaster area on Thursday with laboratory equipment.
His expertise includes the analysis of toxic materials in solid rubbish and sludge and methods of detoxification. In Hungary he will carry out field analyses of the polluted soil and water and advise and support the authorities on questions of the decontamination and clean-up of the disaster area.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the masses of red sludge in West Hungary pose a serious threat to the local population. A second dam has been built to prevent further toxic sludge escaping from the holding basin of the aluminium factory.
The death toll rose to nine after an elderly man died on Wednesday night, disaster management officials said. Of the more than 100 people hurt by the caustic slurry, around 50 remain hospitalised.
swissinfo.ch and agencies