Costa Rica highways clear; focus turns to flooding in Guanacaste

October 10, 2008

Road workers managed to open up the highways, including Inter-American Highway South and the Costanera Sur coastal road, which were blocked by landslides from daily rainstorms, but the authorities are warning motorists to take caution when driving, the Public Works and Transport Ministry reported yesterday morning.

Landslides persist, such as at Río Claro and Palmar Norte, in the Southern Zone, but are not obstructing traffic, according to a ministry press release.

Some 2,885 people, however, were cut off from aid because of overflowing rivers and crumbling country roads, including 250 indigenous families isolated since Monday in the southern Buenos Aires region, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) said yesterday.

Of those within reach of emergency workers, more than 600 people have taken refuge in 22 shelters, with four new shelters opened yesterday in the northwestern Guanacaste province – two in La Cruz, one in Filadelfia and another in Bagaces, CNE reported.

Emergency officials said they are closely monitoring Guanacaste, after reports of several incidents of flooding near the Tempisque River. The situation there could worsen with a low-pressure system pouring in from the Caribbean coast, CNE said.

The commission is broadened its red alert – the highest warning level – to include, in Guanacaste: Agangares, Bagaces, Cañas, Carillo, Hojancha, La Cruz, Liberia, Nandayure, Nicoya, Santa Cruz and Tilarán.

On the central Pacific: Aguirre, Parrita and Garabito.

In the southern Brunca region: Buenos Aires, Corredores, Coto Brus, Osa and Pérez Zeledón.

In the Cartago province: Cartago, El Guarco, Oreamuno and Paraíso.

In San José province: Acosta, Desamparados, Dota, León Cortés and Puriscal.

Carribean slope towns of Siquirres and Upala.

The rest of the country remains on yellow alert – the second highest, meaning residents should prepare for heavy rain, possible flooding and evacuation, if necessary – except for regions such as San José city, which is on the green (take precaution) alert.

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