Costa Rica’s Red Cross saved an average of five people a day during 2009, according to a Jan. 1 press release from the emergency response agency.
Yet, even with the agency’s rapid response and improved training, 995 people suffered violent deaths in 2009. These included victims of traffic accidents, assaults with deadly weapons and the Jan. 8, 2009, earthquake that wiped out the mountain town of Cinchona, northwest of San José.
The principal causes of violent deaths were traffic accidents (33.7 percent), followed by assaults (22.9 percent).
“It’s unfortunate that nearly 1,000 households had to mourn those incidents,” said Miguel Carmona, president of the Red Cross. “However, we won’t stop asking people to take preventive measures to avoid an increase in the statistics in the coming year.”
The Red Cross’ violent death count for 2009 actually decreased from 1,090 in 2008, but the toll has increased by 23 percent since 2000. Without the Red Cross, the statistics would be much worse, Carmona said.
The figures consist of fatalities that the Red Cross encountered on the scene. Persons who later died from injuries were not included.
The Red Cross also said it traveled 70,000 kilometers and administered first aid to nearly 1,200 people every day.
“Immediate first aid applied by Red Cross workers saves lives and avoids lifetime injuries,” he said. “In a selfless manner, Red Cross workers give voluntary service 365 days a year, 24 hours a day – an effort worthy of recognition.”