The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) stands with the government and people of Cuba in the aftermath of the disastrous fire at the Port of Matanzas. We extend our condolences on the loss of life and wish a speedy recovery to the scores of people who were injured in this tragic accident brought on by an act of nature
The extensive damage to infrastructure and the environment is also of concern to the Community. In the same manner, as the steadfast fraternity shown to CARICOM by our sister nation, the Community stands in solidarity with Cuba as it seeks to limit the damage of this disaster and offers our assistance to our longstanding friend and partner to overcome this setback.
Statement from OECS Commission
The OECS Commission extends sincere condolences to the Government and People of the Republic of Cuba, in the wake of the unfortunate incident involving an enormous fire at an oil storage facility in the province of Matanzas on Friday, August 5, 2022.
The Commission refers in particular to the casualties and loss of life and the severe damage caused by the fire and sympathizes with those who have suffered loss, or injury or are traumatized by this tragic event.
The Commission expresses profound sorrow for the sad occurrence, extends deepest condolences on the tragic loss of life in particular, and wishes a full and speedy recovery to those who were injured. At this difficult time, the Commission assures the Government and people of Cuba of its solidarity and prayerful consideration.
Third oil tank collapses
The fire at Matanzas’ main oil terminal had spread to the third tank as firefighters struggled to put out the blaze.
A lightning strike initially caused a fire at just one oil tank, but that quickly spread early Saturday to a second one, triggering explosions at the facility. The explosions led to one fatality and sixteen missing firefighters.
Cuban authorities had made progress fighting off the raging flames during the weekend after drawing on help from Mexico and Venezuela, but late on Sunday, the fire began spreading from the second tank, which collapsed.
Governor of Matanzas province Mario Sabines told state TV that the containment effort is “very complex,” according to Agence France-Presse. He said teams are preparing an operation to douse the flames with the foam but said “this could take a while.”
A fourth tank is threatened but has yet to catch fire. Officials say more than 5,000 people have been evacuated from around the port.
Matanzas is Cuba’s largest port for receiving crude oil and fuel imports. Cuban heavy crude, as well as fuel oil and diesel stored in Matanzas, are mainly used to generate electricity on the island.
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