Flaming inferno: Fires and explosions in fuel depots in Cuba

Rescuers are still battling the flames after a series of explosions at a fuel depot in northern Cuba.

Flaming inferno: Fires and explosions in fuel depots in Cuba

Rescuers are still battling the flames after a series of explosions at a fuel depot in northern Cuba.

"The firefighters are continuing their fight against the violent fire," said the President's Office on Sunday. "Today is a pivotal day in this battle for life." Meanwhile, specialists from Mexico and Venezuela arrived on the Caribbean island to support the emergency services in extinguishing the fire.

On Friday evening, during a thunderstorm, lightning blew up a fuel tank in the port of Matanzas. The fire later spread to other parts of the facility and detonated other tanks on the site. At least one person died in the accident.

In the meantime, more than 120 people have been treated in the hospital. On Sunday, 24 patients were still being treated in hospital, the Cuban government said. Eight of the victims were in critical condition. President Díaz-Canel assessed the situation on the spot and visited the victims in the hospital.

Port operations in Matanzas have been temporarily suspended. The authorities diverted the ships to other ports. According to the provincial government, around 800 people from neighboring residential areas were brought to safety. At least 17 people who worked near the tanks are still missing. Due to the high temperatures, the emergency services were initially unable to advance further to look for the missing persons.

Cuba is suffering from a serious economic crisis and major problems with the energy supply. Recently, there have been repeated power outages on the socialist Caribbean island. The tanks affected by the fire contained Cuban crude oil and imported heavy fuel oil, which is primarily used to generate electricity. The constant power cuts were a trigger for the anti-government protests in Cuba a year ago.

Several thermoelectric power plants in Cuba were out of order again on Sunday. According to the government, the electricity deficit is 780 megawatts.

Report Granma Provincial Government Matanzas on Twitter Government on Twitter

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