San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Spain Pitches In to Help Earthquake Survivors

Spain announced a $285,000 donation  for Costa Rica’s earthquake recovery effort last week and pledged to step up its development aid to the country.

Trinidad Jiménez, the Spanish secretary of state for Iberoamerica, during a recent visited with families left homeless after the Jan. 8 earthquake, said she was struck by the gravity of the victims’ situation.

“What hurts most is seeing the children who were affected (by the quake),” Jiménez said, and reiterated “condolences from the government of Spain to all the families of victims of the earthquake.”

The quake hit near Poás Volcano and leveled hundreds of homes in towns of Heredia and Alajuela, killing at least 23 people and leaving another seven missing and presumed dead. The quake caused an estimated $100 million in damage. Some evacuees, who numbered 2,800 after the earthquake, have slowly returned to their homes, while others remain in shelters awaiting new residences with help from the state and corporate and individual donations.

The non-governmental organization Un Techo para Mi País (a roof for my country) announced volunteers and community members will construct as many as 20 temporary homes this weekend.

Spain’s relief donation came along with a pledge to increase Spanish aid to Costa Rica, which in 2008 totaled $14 million.

“It’s praiseworthy that, despite the current economic crisis, (Spain) isn’t reducing but rather increasing its cooperation (with the region),” said President Oscar Arias in a San José press conference with Jiménez.

–Tico Times and EFE


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