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Aid from Mexico, Venezuela arrives as Cuba battles deadly depot fire

#Aid #Mexico #Venezuela #arrives #Cuba #battles #deadly #depot #fire

Planes, firefighters and specialists from Mexico and Venezuela arrived in Cuba on Sunday to help put out a massive fire at a fuel depot that killed at least one person, injured 121 and left 17 firefighters missing.

The relief teams landed at the airport in the seaside resort of Varadero, 40 kilometers east of the city of Matanzas, where two fuel tanks are still burning uncontrollably since a lightning strike sparked the fire on Friday, authorities said.

A Mexican Air Force Boeing 737-700 landed with 60 military rescue workers and 16 technicians from Petroleos Mexicanos on board, while equipment and extinguishing chemicals arrived on a second plane.

“We are here to help with risk prevention and to smother the fire with water and foam,” said Brigadier General Juan Bravo, leader of the expedition.

Also arriving from Venezuela was a Conviasa flight carrying 35 firefighters, specialists and technicians from Petroleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA), who had 20 tons of foam and other chemicals on board.

Heavy flames and a tall column of black smoke rose from the supertanker base in an industrial area of ​​Matanzas, a town about 100 kilometers east of Havana.

According to official figures, around 1,900 people were evacuated from the affected area.

Provincial health official Luis Armando Wong said at a press conference Saturday night that a first body had been recovered at the scene.

85 of the wounded have been discharged while 36 remain hospitalized, five of them in critical condition, according to the latest medical reports.

Energy Secretary Livan Arronte was among the injured.

The President’s Office said 17 firefighters – those who were “closest” to the fire – were missing.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel thanked the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile for their help.

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#Aid #Mexico #Venezuela #arrives #Cuba #battles #deadly #depot #fire

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