Díaz-Canel calls for environmental impact assessment of fuel depot fire in Matanzas, Cuba

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has asked on Saturday to evaluate the environmental impact that may be caused by the smoke plume emitted by the fire that broke out on Friday night due to a lightning strike in fuel depots in the city of Matanzas, some 80 kilometers east of Havana.

Diaz-Canel has insisted on the importance of carrying out a preliminary assessment at the meeting on strategies to stop the fire, according to the newspaper ‘Cuba Debate’.

In addition, the Cuban president has indicated that it is necessary to work on the evacuation of as much fuel as possible, the newspaper reported.

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Likewise, the president has thanked the material aid offered by several Latin American governments and Russia. “We express deep gratitude to the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile, who have promptly offered solidarity material aid in the face of this complex situation,” he has valued in a publication on the social network Twitter.

Also, in the same message, Díaz-Canel thanked the “technical advice” provided by the United States.

Hours earlier, the president reported that he had ordered the search for the missing, attention for the relatives and international aid, after traveling to Matanzas and visiting the victims.

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The authorities urged to evacuate nearby localities because of the danger of toxic gases. The latest balance indicates that at least 77 people have been injured and 17 firefighters are missing.

The provincial hospital Comandante Faustino Perez has confirmed at least 77 injured by the fire, ten more than those estimated minutes earlier by the Minister of Public Health, Jose Angel Portal, who had specified three critically injured, three very seriously, 12 seriously, 20 less seriously and 29 slightly, according to declarations collected by the ‘Diario de Cuba’.

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