Saturday, October 1

The uncontrolled fire in Cuba spreads to a third fuel tank

After a strong explosion in the early hours of Monday, the third fuel tank of the Matanzas Super Tanker Base (Cuba). According to the governor of the province, Mario Sabines, “the contents of tank number two were scattered and the fire areas increased. The situation last night was very complex, with three tanks on, because he also poured fuel into one again.”

More than three days after the fire started, Cuban authorities have failed to contain it. On Sunday they arrived at the island teams and advisors from Mexico and Venezuela, who “continue to work uninterruptedly to quell the incident,” reported the official press.

«The fourth tank –of a total of eight existing in the base–, which was completely emptied of fuel since yesterday afternoon, has some damage in its lower part. Work is being done to corral the fire, firefighters open gaps to gain access with the foam. The helicopters spray water from the sea to contain the fire and protect other facilities surrounding the burning tanks,” reported Radio 26, from Matanzas.

The fire has caused 125 injuries – of which five are critical and two seriously, and more than a hundred have already been discharged – and one death. There is still no information about the 16 missing firefighters but, due to the magnitude of the disaster, all are assumed to have perished.

No security perimeter

Although more than 4,000 people have been evacuatedlocal media report that inhabitants of surrounding areas continue to flee from the smoke and a possible expansion of the fire, from which it is inferred that the authorities have not yet managed to establish a security perimeter and an efficient evacuation plan.

After the explosion, the inhabitants of the area reported on social networks a strong smell of sulfur, but the contamination from the smoke has been spreading more and more since the start of the fire, even reaching the Cuban capital, some 100 kilometers away. from the disaster site. Experts warn about a possible increase in acid rains in those areas affected by the cloud of pollutants.

In Matanzas, the authorities recommended that the population close doors and windows and wear a mask, even inside homes, due to how harmful this smoke is to health.

Just as the population feared, the disaster will cause an increase in the national energy crisis and, therefore, in electricity cuts

The fire at the Matanzas Supertanker Base has caused the loss of at least 78,000 cubic meters of fuel, Only taking into account the first two tanks, the third also has a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters but it is not yet known if it was at 100% capacity. Just as the population feared, the disaster will cause an increase in the national energy crisis and, therefore, in electricity cuts. The official press reported that “the departure of the ‘Antonio Guiteras’ Thermoelectric Power Plant from the National Electric System is imminent.”

drop in tourism

On the other hand, the Cuban economist Elijah Love warns about an imminent drop in national tourism due to the expansion of pollution. Amor also considers that what happened in Cuba “is a consequence of the inability of the regime to break out of the vicious circle of the communist economic and social model: blackouts, explosions, fire, drop in tourism, less income, economic debacle, social protests. For now, they have in the Matanzas fire an instrument to change the focus and not talk about the growing citizen unrest, but they will continue. It’s just a matter of time », he assures.

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