The death toll from the iron ore mine dam disaster in Brazil has risen to nine, while 19 people remain missing, according to BHP Billiton, a co-owner of the mine. BHP said tailings from the two dams that burst more than a week ago extend 440km (273 miles) downstream, affecting 11 communities. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff flew over the devastated area, pledging that the company would be made to pay for the cleanup. She called the breaches at the Samarco mine in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais the "biggest environmental disaster" to hit the country.

When the two dams burst on 5 November, leftovers from the mining process formed a massive wave of viscous red mud that all but erased the nearby village of Bento Rodrigues.

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Aerial view of damage in the village of Bento RodriguesChristophe Simon/AFP
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A car is balanced on a wall in Bento Rodrigues districtRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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The skeleton of the municipal school of Bento Rodrigues districtRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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Deep mud blocks the entrance of the Bento Rodrigues schoolRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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Books hang on a wall inside the municipal school of Bento Rodrigues district which was covered with mudRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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A rescue worker wrestles in the deep mud in the challenging search for victims in the region of Bento RodriguesRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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Rescue workers search for victims in the deep mud covering the village of Bento RodriguesRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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The window of a home in the Bento Rodrigues district is blocked by the mud encrusted around the whole areaRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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A lone picture has survived the mud wave that devastated the region of Bento RodriguesRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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A block of mud props up a broken window in a damaged house in Bento RodriguesRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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The window of a damaged house is pictured in Bento Rodrigues district after a dam owned by Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd burstRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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A cupboard is pictured in debris in Bento Rodrigues district, which was covered with mud after the dam burstRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, accompanied by Governor of Minas Gerais state Fernando Pimentel flies over the areas hit by the collapse of the damsRoberto Stuckert Filho/Brazilian Presidency/Reuters

The mud flow has continued, reaching a key river, where it has devastated wildlife and threatened the drinking water supply for hundreds of thousands of people downstream. Thousands of turtles, fish and other animals have died in the river, and experts say the devastating effects on local fauna could last decades.

Rousseff has slapped preliminary fines of 250 million reais (£43.5m $66.2m) on the mine's owners BHP and Vale SA and said the fines could be followed by penalties from other federal or state agencies. The top government lawyer is working with the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) to sue the mine owners for up to $1 billion in environmental damages.

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Horses are seen trapped in the mud in the village of Bento Rodrigues the day after the dam burstChristophe Simon/AFP
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A rescue worker comforts a horse stuck in deep mud in Bento RodriguesRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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Rescue workers try to pull a horse out of the mudRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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Firefighters rescue a foal that was trapped in the mudChristophe Simon/AFP
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A foal is led away after it was rescued from the mud, the day after the dam burstChristophe Simon/AFP
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Albertino Damasceno and his wife Cristiane Pereira show a rescue worker where their missing seven-year-old son Tiago was when the dam burstRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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A firefighter stands on the roof of a destroyed house in Bento Rodrigues districtRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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Residents sit near a body recovered by firefighters on the banks of Rio DoceRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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A man carries the coffin of Emanuele Vitoria Fernandes, 5, who died in Bento Rodrigues district after a dam owned by Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd burstRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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A man works on the cleaning of a house flooded with mudRicardo Moraes/Reuters
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Jaqueline da Aparecida Fernandes shows the picture of her brother Mateus Marcio Fernandes, 29, who remains missing after the dam where he worked burstRicardo Moraes/Reuters

Rousseff, a native of Minas Gerais, told executives at BHP and Vale that Brazil's government expected the companies to pay for rescue and cleanup efforts, as well compensation for more than 500 people who were displaced as their homes were destroyed.