Authorities order mass evacuations of nearby towns due to the danger of toxic gases
At least 77 people have been injured Y 17 firefighters are now missing due to the enormous fire declared in the supertanker port of the Cuban city of Matanzasabout 80 kilometers east of Havana. the county hospital Commander Faustino Perez has confirmed at least 77 injured by the fire, ten more than estimated minutes before by the Minister of Public Health, Jose Angel Portal who had specified three critical injuries, three very serious, 12 serious, 20 less serious and 29 minor, according to statements collected by the ‘Diario de Cuba’.
Faced with this situation ofimminent danger of dissemination of toxic gases“, the local government of Matanzas has ordered “the mass evacuation of the closest towns”, starting with the extraction of 800 people in dubrocq, close to the industrial zone of Matanzas where the fire occurred. “The purpose is to continue the evacuation. The La Ganadera community and other nearby areas are included. The objective is to exercise extreme caution,” said Governor Mario Sabines Lorenzo.
The Cuban media have reported the explosion of up to four of the eight fuel tanks of the area, which has fueled the flames that have caused burns to several people. Ambulances are already transporting those affected to hospitals while firefighters from Matanzas, Mayabeque, Havana and Artemisa continue to work to control the fire, caused by lightning that struck a 55,000 liters of oil.
The first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in Matanzas, Susely Morfa, has confirmed that the fire is still active. “The situation is difficult, but we persevere strongly. Matanzas at the foot of the canyon,” Morfa stressed. For his part, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has visited and “shares impressions” with the wounded, according to the regional government of Matanzas. The Cuban president has ordered the search for the disappeared, as well as care for their relatives, and requested international aid.
“Help and advice were requested from friendly countries, with experiences in the oil issue. Strategies for recovery are already being outlined,” he said. Several Red Cross and Rescue and Salvage brigades from Havana to provide assistance to those injured in the accident. Specifically, the Cuban Presidency has reported that they have been in contact with “friendly countries”, “with experience in the oil issue”, for which reason it is already speculated with the collaboration of Mexico Y Venezuela. The United States is another of the countries with the experience, resources and technologies to deal with this type of catastrophe, but the economic blockade would make this help difficult.
seen by satellite
Cuban Television has reported that during the night and early morning the residents of the areas near the fire that affects the Matanzas Super Tanker Base have been evacuated. Dozens of people have been housed in public institutions and relatives’ houses with buses and other vehicles. The fire is of such proportions that it can be seen in satellite images shared on social networks and the column of smoke is also visible from the capital, Havana. Cuban media outlets based outside the island, such as Martí Noticias, point out that the burned fuel is used to supply the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant, the most important in the country.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.