Steady Rains Damage Parts of Country

October 12, 2007

Steady rain continued to pound Costa Rica this week, causing road-blocking landslides and flooding homes in some parts of the country.

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) yesterday declared a red alert for the central Pacific areas of Parrita, Garabito and Puntarenas and the Central Valley coffee town of Atenas, where a landslide in the community of Fátima yesterday buried six houses, killing at least two people and leaving at least 10 missing. Flooding hit more than 800 houses in these areas and along the Pacific coast, according to CNE spokesman Reinaldo Carballo. Shelters have been opened to accommodate those whose homes were damaged.

The commission has placed the rest of the country under a yellow alert, except the Caribbean coast, which is under a green alert. Residents should remain alert of water levels and have a plan in the event of flooding.

This week’s steady rains and unseasonably rainy mornings were the result of a low-pressure system over Mexico’s YucatanPeninsula blowing precipitation over Costa Rica. The system was expected to begin to diminish yesterday, but in its place a tropical storm is brewing over Panama that will likely bring more heavy rain to Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, Carballo said.

Saturated ground caused landslides to block three roads this week. The road running south from San José to the Southern Zone canton of Pérez Zeledón and the road connecting the mountain town of Tarbaca, south of San José, with Río Conejo are now clear. However, the Vuelta de Jorco road, also south of San José, remained blocked yesterday, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Juan Carlos González.

Help arrived this week for victims of flooding in the eastern Cartago province.

The government designated more than ¢800 million ($1.5 million) to help those affected, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.

The private sector also pitched in. The Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Wednesday donated $23,500 worth of equipment to help communities in the northwestern Guanacaste province during emergencies.

 

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