Toxic waste disaster: Switzerland supports Hungary

Bern, Press release, 14.10.2010

An environmental expert from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) will be arriving in the Hungarian disaster area today. At the request of the Hungarian government he will support the authorities in their efforts to deal with the toxic waste disaster.

The Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) has sent an SHA expert with practical experience in comparable situations to support the Hungarian authorities. He will arrive in the disaster area today 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.  

Switzerland offered Hungary help in dealing with the chemical disaster in Kolontar last week and said it was willing to send chemical/environmental specialists to provide support. The Hungarian government has now agreed and has made an official request for assistance. This means that Switzerland is now involved in the international efforts to tackle this problem. 

According to the 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.   

Further information:
Information FDFA, phone +41 31 322 31 53 or e-mail at

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs