HURRICANE Katrina, which struck the southeastern coast of the United States Aug. 29 with unprecedented fury and destruction, has had an impact on many in Costa Rica: both U.S. citizens living or traveling here and watching the disaster unfold in their home country, and Costa Ricans with family in the afflicted states.Rescue efforts in the United States are under way and, according to officials, are of the largest magnitude in U.S. history. Although a total of 299 residents of Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Georgia had been officially confirmed dead at press time, approximately 25,000 body bags were on their way to New Orleans for the thousands of additional dead authorities expect to find, according to BBC News.President Abel Pacheco commented on the disaster Tuesday at his weekly Cabinet meeting.“The destruction of this beautiful city (New Orleans) has pained us greatly, and we are greatly pained by what it still happening. Costa Rica manifests its solidarity with the victims, with the U.S. government, with the people of North America. We are with you,” he said.The General Consulate of Costa Rica in New Orleans estimates that 1,500 to 2,000 Costa Ricans live in the affected areas. The consulate advises Costa Ricans with family in the affected areas to call its provisional office in the United States at (011) (985) 549-5454 or (504) 723-4043, or e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with the complete name, birth date and, if possible, the location where the family member lives.U.S. citizens concerned about family members in the area can access resources such as the Red Cross Web site, www.redcross.org, which has links to a list of survivors and a missing person registry – or call 1-877-568-3317 for information on missing family members. The Red Cross site also lists ways to donate money to rescue efforts.The New Orleans-area newspaper The Times-Picayune also suggests: www.familylinks.icrc.org/katrina/search, www.katrina-survivor.com/es/, and www.rree.go.cr/ministerio/index.php?stp=42&langtype=&SID.
Today in Costa Rica