Cuba: Mexico and Venezuela as reinforcements to try to put out deadly camp center fire    Overseas on May 1

Cuba: Mexico and Venezuela as reinforcements to try to put out deadly camp center fire Overseas on May 1

Men and equipment came from Mexico and Venezuela to support the Cuban fire brigades. The disaster that broke out at the supertanker base in Matanzas (on the north-west coast of Cuba) has not been brought under control for 4 days.

Caroline Popovic • Posted August 9, 2022 at 1:55 PM, updated August 9, 2022 at 2:02 PM

Four tanks with petroleum products have already gone up in smoke. Despite the Cuban authorities’ strategy of keeping the tanks intact by spraying water, the flames spread.

Reinforcements and equipment from Mexico and Venezuela are the only ones supporting the Cuban brigades. For the moment, Cuba is content with the help of these two Latin American allies, although several other countries, including the United States, have offered to help.

The supertanker base in Matanzas receives crude oil, heating oil and diesel. These products are stored in the 8 tanks on site. They serve to supply the population with electricity.

Kuba helicopters take turns to extinguish the fire

In Matanzas, helicopters take turns to bring the fire under control. • ©Cubadebate Twitter

When the fire broke out, 5,000 people were evacuated from areas near the site. Authorities confirm the death of a firefighter, more than a hundred injured and 14 people missing. But that tally is likely to increase.

Several injured were treated for burns or inhalation of the smoke, which is spreading and forming toxic clouds of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen and carbon.

The fire started on Friday, August 5, 2022 after a clap of thunder that started a fire in one of the fuel tanks. Then the spread was rapid. The local authorities cannot say when the fire can be brought under control.

Cuba, locals watch the fire

In Cuba, locals watch the fire at the supertanker base in Matanzas. • ©Cubadebate Twitter

On Monday, August 8, 2022, the thermoelectric power plant that supplies the western region of Cuba was closed. There have been repeated power outages in the country since the beginning of the disaster. With the destruction of this tank farm in Matanzas, the Cubans expect a worsening of the situation, which many of them already “intolerable”.