September 2, 2008

Colombian President Supervises Recovery of Cyanide Barrels From River

Colombian president supervises recovery of cyanide barrels from river

BOGOTA, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and several of his ministers on Monday supervised the recovery process of the barrels of cyanide that had sunk in the Magdalena river Saturday after a ferry accident.

Since Sunday, divers have recovered 60 of the 100 barrels from the river in the northern province of Bolivar.

Uribe and his ministers of environment, housing and development, as well as social protection, closely monitored the work of the army divers, Admiral Roberto Garcia said.

"The president, along with his ministers, is very concerned about the issue, and they will form a security council in the municipality of Bodega Central to analyze the problem," he added.

The government is worried that the barrels of cyanide may cause an environmental and humanitarian disaster in the region because the Magdalena river passes through seven provinces.

However, the strong water current is hampering recovery work, said the Minister for Social Protection, Diego Palacio.

Army divers suspended work Sunday night because of rains, while experts are monitoring water quality to ensure that the contents of the barrels have not been spilled in the river, Palacio said.

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