While Ticos and tourists were out enjoying last week’s Easter holidays with trips to beaches, rivers and other destinations, Red Cross workers and volunteers had the unpleasant tasks of attending to emergencies and keeping tabs on how many deaths occurred.
As it does every year, the Red Cross this week released its count of deaths during Easter Holy Week, or Semana Santa; this year’s total was 31, according to a statement from the organization.
The dailies La Nación and La Teja reported 40 deaths during the week, a figure that surpasses Red Cross counts because it includes people who died after being taken to hospitals, Red Cross spokeswoman Noemi Coto explained. The Red Cross counts only deaths “on site.”
Of the 31 deaths registered by the Red Cross from April 1-8, 12 occurred on the roads, nine in aquatic accidents, three from trauma caused by falls and other accidents, five by firearm injuries and two by other causes.
Additionally, Red Cross workers transported 98 people in delicate condition to hospitals, while 44 people were rescued from drowning, according to the statement. Workers Monday were still searching for a 13-year-old boy identified as Felipe Camacho who disappeared April 6 from the waters of Playa Naranjo in the northwestern Guanacaste province.
This year’s Semana Santa death toll is higher than last year’s 27, but lower than 1999’s record 47 victims, Coto said.
These counts are “not a source of satisfaction,” since they are much higher than the rest of the year, she said. For example, a normal month sees an average of six drownings, compared to the nine that occurred last week, and during an average week, Red Cross workers attend to about 4,000 highway accidents throughout the country, compared to last week’s 6,406.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing more and more violent highway accidents with five, six or seven people involved instead of just one or two,” Coto said.