Tens of Thousands Still Stranded; Roads Begin to Open

November 8, 2010

On Sunday night, at least 12,000 families remained isolated and 27 people were confirmed dead after last week’s rainstorms, which devastated Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission (CNE) reports that 3,745 people were staying in 55 temporary shelters across the country on Sunday night.

On Sunday, helicopters and airplanes from the Colombian, Panamanian and Guatemalan armed forces – which arrived in Costa Rica on Friday night – transported food, water, and medical personal and equipment to 19 stranded communities throughout the country.

In the northwestern province of Guanacaste, a Hercules C-130 transport plane from Colombia transported 16,200 liters of water to Liberia international airport to be distributed throughout the province.

Helicopters carried 10,500 pounds of food and 6,000 pounds of drinking water to residents in Los Santos, a coffee producing region south of San José, where several communities remained isolated on Sunday night. The aerial transports also brought 35,000 liters of water to Acosta, a valley town on the other side of the mountains south of San José. 

As of Saturday, nearly 100,000 residents across Costa Rica remained without clean drinking water due to the rupture of pipes and the collapse of distribution systems during last week’s intense rain. In Aserrí, a mountain town just south of San José, residents filled up buckets and jugs from a cistern truck that the Costa Rican Water and Sewer institute (AyA) had sent to the community.

Air force supplies

Aerial vehicles from Guatemala, Panama and Colombia brought relief supplies to Costa Rica on Sunday after heavy rains battered the country last week, leaving Costa Rica in a state of emergency. Photo courtesy of Costa Rica’s Security Ministry.

On Saturday, in Lourdes de Aserrí, where 10 homes were completely destroyed and dozens of others were damaged by a flash flood that stormed down the mountainside on Thursday, many residents salvaged items – furniture, appliances and clothes – from their shattered houses and moved in with family members in other towns.

Some have been promised a three month stipend for rent, food and clothing by Costa Rican’s Mixed Institute for Social Aid (IMAS). Most said they will not return to their homes in Lourdes.

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) restored electricity to 1,467 residents as of Sunday night and reported that 933 people remain without power.

The Costa Rican Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) announced that 84 of the 123 roads that were closed last week have been rehabilitated. The Inter-American highway south has been opened from San José to San Isidro del General, the southern zone´s principal city. The ministry had closed the highway last week due to landslides.

The Costanera, a highway that runs along the southern Pacific coast, was opened to Palmar Norte.

Follow the latest official road updates in Spanish at: http://www.transito.go.cr/estadorutas/index.html

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