San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New Cinchona nears completion

More than two years after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake leveled the mountain village of Cinchona, claimed at least 30 lives and forced thousands to evacuate, 93 families who lost everything will have a new place to live.

Construction of New Cinchona, a 600-hectare community in Cariblanco de Alajuela, is more than 50 percent complete and housing officials expect residents to be moving in as soon as February. New Cinchona is located roughly six kilometers from the original town northwest of San José.

As of January 7, Facoli Dent, the firm contracted to build New Cinchona, had completed 82 of the 93 homes and began to paint the structures and install front lawns. Builders broke ground at the site on Oct. 13, 2010, and said that construction would be complete within 75 days from that date, but torrential rainfalls at the end of last year delayed work.

The group has begun to pave roads and has finished the installation of rain gutters and waste water pipelines at the New Cinchona. Officials from Facoli-Dent expect to contract a company to build a waste water treatment plant this week.

While two years seems like a long time for a new home, for Leidy Salazar, who hopes to move into her new home in February, it was worth the wait.

“The time doesn’t matter because hope continues,” she said. “The idea is that the tough memories are behind us. New Cinchona [is] new life,” she said.

Including consultations, land purchases and construction, New Cinchona cost Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission ₡5.2 billion ($10.2 million). Of the cost, ₡3.6 billion ($7 million) were provided by Costa Rica’s national emergency fund, while ₡1.6 billion ($3.5 million) stemmed from donations from Costa Rican citizens.

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