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Rains force 2,000 people into shelters

December 2, 2010

Strong and incessant rainfall throughout the week forced 2,000 people to flee their homes because of flooding.

Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission (CNE) has opened 38 temporary shelters across the country where evacuees are now lodging. The yellow alert issued on Wednesday remains in effect for the entire province of Limón on the Caribbean coast, for the northern zone, and all of San José, Escazú, west of San José, and Acosta, a valley town on the other side of the mountains, south of San José.

Several communities in the country’s southern zone are also on yellow alert, including León Cortés, Tarrazú, Dota, Golfito and Corredores.

The CNE has begun to send supplies such as blankets, food and medicine to flooded communities including downtown Limón, a port city on the Caribbean coast, Pococí and Siquirres, towns on the Caribbean slope and Sarapiquí, a canton in north-central Costa Rica. As of Thursday, crews had distributed 3,000 supply rations to these areas.

In southern Costa Rica, 1,203 people lost electricity in the communities of San Gerardo, Dabado, B Line, Corina, Bananito, Casas Verdes and Valle La Estrella.

In response to the yellow alert, the CNE has opened its center of emergency operations where emergency officials are coordinating response efforts with local relief teams in affected areas.

The recent rains are the result of a low pressure tropical depression that struck the Caribbean coast on Tuesday. The front passed Costa Rica on Thursday evening and the National Meteorological Institute has forecasted drier and sunnier conditions for the weekend.

Flooding and landslides caused by the rains have affected 33 national routes and collapsed three bridges.

The highway that leads to Bríbrí and Sixaola, the border crossing with Panama on the Caribbean side in southern Costa Rica is closed.

The bridge that crosses the Río Sucio and leads to Sarapiquí in north-central Costa Rica has been flooded. Transit authorites are working to establish a pedestrian bridge that will cross the river and install a temporary Beily bridge for vehicle traffic to cross.

For the latest road updates, check: http://www.transito.go.cr/estadorutas/index.html

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