Unforgiving rain at the height of Costa Rica’s wet season wreaked havoc on the country this year, taking lives, forcing thousands to seek refuge, demolishing infrastructure and prompting the government to declare emergencies.
National Emergency Commission president Daniel Gallardo called 2007 “the year of never before” when it came to weather. Not counting hurricanes, it was the rainiest year in 30 years, he said.
It was in June that violent weather first struck Costa Rica, prompting an emergency in the Central Valley that caused floods, landslides and even a tornado that damaged some 300 homes in Alajuelita, south of the capital.
Floods in July devastated the Caribbean and Northern Zone, causing $10 million in damage, destroying 1,300 homes, 2,000 kilometers of roads and critical water infrastructure.
Rains in early October brought death and destruction. A total of 18 people died, including 14 in a landslide in the Central Valley coffee town Atenas.
About 4,000 homes were damaged or flooded, mostly in the northwestern region of Guanacaste and the central Pacific.More than 3,100 people fled to shelters while about 12,000 others sought refuge with family and friends.
About 30 bridges were damaged, large swaths of national highways were put out of commission, and the country’s agriculture sector took major losses.
At year’s end, the government was still repairing or replacing damaged bridges and roads.