Cuba fire rages at fuel storage port; Mexico, Venezuela sending help

August 07, 2022

HAVANA — A massive oil-fed fire burned for a second day on Saturday near Cuba's supertanker port in Matanzas, as Mexico and Venezuela sent teams to help fight the inferno.

On Friday evening, lightning struck one of eight storage tanks at the facility 60 miles east of Havana.

The heat from the blaze reached a second tank.

Cuban authorities said at least 121 people were injured in the second blast, of which 36 remained hospitalized, five in critical condition.

One person was listed as dead and 17 firefighters were unaccounted for, Reuters reported.

More than 1,000 civilians were evacuated from the area.

Military helicopters were dumping seawater on nearby storage tanks as smoke reached Havana and residents were warned to avoid acid rain.

Cuba has been suffering daily blackouts and fuel shortages.

The loss of fuel and storage capacity is likely to aggravate the situation which has led to small local protests in the last few months.

Jorge Pinon, director of the University of Texas at Austin's Latin America and Caribbean Energy and Environment Program, said the area had eight big tanks each with a capacity of 300,000 barrels.

“The area is a transshipment point for fuel to various thermo-electric plants, not just the one nearby, so this could be very bad news for the power grid," he said. — Agencies

August 07, 2022
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