On the afternoon of 5 November, the small town of Bento Rodrigues in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais was engulfed by a wave of toxic mud when a nearby tailings dam burst. The incident caused 17 deaths and more than 600 people were displaced. The disaster has been described as the worst environmental disaster in Brazil’s history. From Bento Rodrigues, the mud travelled 600km across two Brazilian states leaving hundreds of people homeless before entering the region’s most important river, the Rio Doce, killing fish and polluting water supplies, then spilling into Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Espirito Santo state. The long term environmental impact of the disaster is unknown, but in the meantime, Bento Rodrigues’ residents have no choice but to stay in rented accommodation until the receive compensation from Samarco, the company managing the dam. The local economy was highly dependent on mining, adding to the agony.