A terrible explosion rocked the Amuay oil refinery in the state of Falcon in Venezuela, killing tens of people in August, 2012.
An explosion rocked the Amuay oil refinery in north-western Venezuela, killing no fewer than 41 people, including a 10-year-old boy, and injuring more than 86 others a Venezuelan official said on Saturday 25th August, 2012.
The explosion was caused by a gas leak, the gas cloud exploded, igniting at least three storage tanks, and other facilities at the refinery. The Amuay refinery, one of the biggest in the world was able to produce over 645,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Flames reaching 30 metres into the night air still crackled almost 20 hours after the explosion occurred; giving off searing heat felt by the residents of the neighbourhood located approximately 300 metres from the refinery. The blast damaged 209 homes and 11 shops, while 13 families saw their homes completely destroyed.
A panel of investigators was being formed to determine the cause of the gas leak. While the cause of the disaster remains unclear, some oil workers and critics of Chavez's government have recently pointed to increasing numbers of smaller accidents and spills as an indication of problems within the state-run oil company, PDVSA.
Development of a network/collective action Media based activism/alternative media
Impacts of the project
Visible: Air pollution, Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Genetic contamination, Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Visible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Deaths Potential: Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Visible: displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place Potential: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Conflict outcome / response:
Compensation Migration/displacement Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:
The Government of Venezuela has began investigations to determine the cause of the gas leak. Meanwhile authorities have relocated displaced people to the refinery complex and the countrys naval base. Injured victims have been taken for medical treatment. And the Government promised to compensate all dead, injured and displaced victims.
Sources and Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites