June 2, 2023

A lightning strike sparked a fire at a Cuban oil storage facility in the city of Matanzas, leaving one dead, 17 missing, at least 122 injured and hundreds evacuated.

During a storm on Friday, lightning struck a tank at the facility, setting it on fire and another nearby on fire.

“This morning was once again difficult,” the Cuban president tweeted in a statement on Sunday. “With the help of friendly nations, firefighters continue to put out the fires. Today will be a pivotal day in our fight for our lives.”

According to the provincial government, the containers contained 26,000 cubic meters of oil and 50,000 cubic meters of fuel oil. Heavy smoke and fires have been burning over the facility for days.

Officials said they recovered the remains of firefighter Juan Carlos Santana Garrido at the scene at the Matanzas supertanker base on Saturday.

“We mourn his family and friends and express our sincerest condolences,” Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health said. wrote on its website.

On Sunday, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez met with the injured and the families of the missing.

Firefighters from Mexico and Venezuela are helping put out the fire in Cuba.

“Welcome to our Mexican brothers,” the president tweeted on Sunday. “We rely on your expertise and solidarity to continue the fight against the fire at the Matanzas supertanker base. Thank you to [Mexican] Thank you to President López Obrador for his immediate response to our urgency. “

Military helicopters have sprinkled water on the facility, and officials hope to keep the remaining intact fuel tanks cool to avoid further escalation.

About 800 people have been evacuated from the nearby Dubrocq community.

“I was in the gym when I felt the first explosion. A plume of smoke and terrible flames rose from the sky,” resident Adiel Gonzalez told The Associated Press on Saturday. “The city has a strong smell of sulphur.”

The operation of the nearby 225 MW Antonio Guiteras power plant, one of the largest in the country, is not currently threatened. Head to the state-run Prensa Latina.

State-run Prensa Latina reports of fire The operation of the nearby Antonio Guiteras 225 MW power plant, one of the largest in the country, poses no immediate threat.

Many countries have expressed support for fighting the fires, including Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, and especially the United States, which has maintained a trade embargo with the island for the past six years.

Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernandez de Cosio Thanks to the U.S. government “Technical assistance” on Saturday.

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