‘Extremely rainy’ September, October await Costa Rica

August 20, 2010

 

 The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) has projected “extremely rainy” conditions from August through October for the Central Valley and the Pacific Slope. The agency predicts that eight cyclones will affect Costa Rica this year, four of which will likely reach hurricane strength.
 
Meanwhile, intense rainfall in Costa Rica last weekend forced 143 people into shelters, damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings and possibly killed a 47-year-old mother.
 
On Monday, rescue crews from the National Emergency Commission (CNE) and the Costa Rican Red Cross searched the canton of Aserrí, a mountain town south of San José, for Damaris Alvarez, a mother of three who was carried away by swelling torrents on Friday afternoon.
 
According to the Red Cross, Alvarez was waiting out the downpour in a concrete structure when water from a confluence of the Río Cañas rushed in and swept her into the stream.
 
Rescuers searched for Alvarez throughout the weekend but found no signs of her remains. Red Cross teams continued the search on Monday.
 
In Corredores, in the country’s Southern Zone, 170 homes were flooded by the weekend’s cascades. A dam that broke on the Río Claro last week forced 22 people from the zone into temporary shelters, where they remained on Monday. 
 
The CNE has deployed a team of specialists to repair the dam.
 
In San Sebastián, a southwest district of San José, the deluges prompted the CNE to move 121 people from the area to a shelter.
 
According to an analysis by Julio Madrigal, a geologist for the CNE, they cannot return to their homes due to high risks of building collapses and landslides.
The Mixed Institute for Social Aid (IMAS) has agreed to provide financial support to the 121 victims in the shelter and will consider the possibility of renting new homes for the families.
 
On Monday the Health Ministry evaluated whether to declare the homes in San Sebastián to be uninhabitable.
 
On Sunday, the CNE issued a green alert, the lowest of the country’s three alert levels, for the Central Valley, for Cartago province – east of San José, the southern and northern Pacific zones and for several towns along the Caribbean Slope.
 
The CNE advised residents in these areas to be aware of the danger of landslides and flash floods.
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