On the fourth day of the fire at the Supertanker Base in Matanzas (Cuba), the authorities, with the help of teams and specialists from Mexico and Venezuela, continue working to contain it. So far, some 2,800 square meters of surface are engulfed in flames and three of the eight tanks have collapsed, a fourth tank is affected by flames.
The official press and government officials point to a lightning strike that struck one of the tanks on Friday afternoon, with around 26,000 cubic meters of fuel (50% of its capacity), and that the lightning rod system did not work. However, the spread of the fire, still out of control, could be due to the negligence of the regime.
Local sources claim that it is true lightning strike theory on the tank, but that the lightning rod did not work properly, and the same thing happened with the fire-fighting system: “the water pump was broken and the foam pump was empty,” Fabio Corchado, correspondent in Matanzas for the independent media outlet Cubanet, reported.
Due to the lack of transparency From the Cuban authorities, most of the information is obtained through the official press, the only one that has access to the sources and to the disaster area. The accredited foreign media also depend on the version of the authorities and the independent press tries to access, despite the harassment of the political police, the stories of the protagonists. “There is a lot of fear, especially the relatives of the victims. Have very afraid to speak. They are receiving great pressure, “says Corchado.
uncertainty and fear
On Monday the authorities reported that there are fourteen and not seventeen missing as initially reported after the explosion of the second tank in the early hours of Saturday. Two of them were later found among the wounded in hospitals and one body, of a 60-year-old firefighter, has already been found.
On Tuesday, local media identified one of the disappeared, a 20-year-old who was serving compulsory military service. Precisely, it is speculated that several of the disappeared are young people between 17 and 21 years old, the first firefighters sent to put out the fire, with insufficient materials to deal with a fire of such proportions. This, together with the uncertainty regarding the end of the incident, has increased the discomfort among the people of Matanzas.
According to official information, so far, in the province there are 904 people evacuated in state institutions and 3,840 in the homes of relatives and friends.
In addition to the spread of the fire, there are fears of serious health consequences that the cloud of pollutants could cause. In a press conference, the Cuban Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya, confirmed that thousands of toxic particles They have fallen as rain in the provinces of Havana, Matanzas and Mayabeque.
Power outages on the rise
As a result of the loss of around 78,000 cubic meters of fuel, on Monday stopped operating the ‘Antonio Guiteras’ thermoelectric plant, which supplies service to a large part of the country. The electricity cuts, which have been experienced on the Island for three months due to the energy crisis, have worsened.
After almost twelve hours without power, early Tuesday morning, the inhabitants of the town of Alcides Pino, in the province of Holguín, went out to protest peacefully. In addition to demanding electrical service, they shouted “down with Díaz-Canel” and “down with the dictatorship.” Independent media report that they were broken up by the police and brigades of special troops.
The difficulty of the regime in caring for the wounded has also become evident. Although health officials claim to have all the necessary conditions, images of the precarious conditions of hospitals transcend on social networks, in one of them a health worker is observed blowing air with a cardboard to a burned patient.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism