San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Red Cross

Red Cross warns of increase in violent deaths last month

According to the Costa Rican Red Cross, August was the most violent month so far this year, with 102 deaths in “tragic circumstances,” a term the agency uses in statistics to refer to both homicides and accidents. The report was released on Tuesday.

The Red Cross noted that 30 people died last month from firearms or knife attacks, and 71 were hospitalized with serious or life-threatening injuries. The same number of people – 30 – died in traffic accidents during the same period, and 124 were hospitalized.

Six people drowned on Costa Rican beaches or in rivers, and seven were electrocuted to death, either from a lightning strike or high voltage wires (the Red Cross does not separate the two causes in its statistics).

Red Cross spokesman Freddy Román said that an excess of 100 violent deaths in one month is troubling. Also cause for concern, he said, are the averages of one death per day for both traffic accidents and firearms.

So far this year, the number of deaths caused by some form of violence (the Red Cross includes accidents in this number) totals 643,  which is 27 more than the first eight months of 2013 (616). The monthly average for 2014 is 80, with the lowest number registered in February, at 68.

Red Cross National Director of Operations Guillermo Arroyo hopes to raise awareness about the spike in numbers and has called on Costa Ricans to take better care of each other to bring the numbers down by the end of the year.

Source: Costa Rican Red Cross

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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