San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Red Cross counts nearly 1,000 deaths by year's end

Costa Rica´s Red Cross saved an average of five people a day during 2009, according to a Jan. 1 press release from the emergency response agency.

Yet, even with their rapid response and improved training, 995 people were killed in 2009, either from traffic accidents, assaults with weapons or from the Jan. 8 Cinchona earthquake.

The principal causes of death were traffic accidents, at 33.7 percent and injuries resulting from firearms (22.9 percent).

“It´s unfortunate that close to 1,000 households had to mourn those incidents,” said Miguel Carmona, president of the Red Cross. “However, we won´t stop asking people to take preventative measures to avoid an increase in the statistics in the coming year.”

The Red Cross´ final death count for 2009 actually decreased from 1,090 in 2008, but increased by 23 percent since 2000. Without the Red Cross, the statistics would be much worse, Carmona said.

The figures consist of fatalities that the Red Cross encountered on the scene. Persons who later died from injuries were not included.

The Red Cross also said it traveled 70,000 miles and administered first aid to nearly 1,200 people every day.

“Immediate first aid applied by Red Cross workers saves lives and avoids lifetime injuries,” he said. “In a selfless manner, Red Cross workers give voluntary service 365 days a year, 24 hours a day; an effort worthy of recognition.”

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