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Strong earthquake rattles Costa Rica

May 13, 2011

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rattled the country this afternoon at 4:50 p.m. and lasted for 15 to 20 seconds. According to the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (Oviscori), based at the National University (UNA) in Heredia, north of San José, the epicenter of the quake was located six kilometers north of Santiago de Puriscal, a mountain town about 45 km southwest of the capital.

According to the Costa Rican Red Cross, no deaths have been reported. The quake was felt in most parts of the nation, and minor damage and injuries have been reported in communities around the country. Freddy Román, a spokesman for the Red Cross, told The Tico Times that several small landslides had occurred in various parts of the country, though no causalities had been reported. 

Cellphone coverage was also temporarily interrupted in many areas of the country. After the earthquake subsided, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, the country’s state-run telecom monopoly, was inundated with more than 100,000 phones calls, according to reports. The inundation of phone calls caused the cellular network to collapse.

Residents in San José didn’t seem too worried about the earthquake’s impact.

“I was heading to the post office when the quake started,” said Sander Thomas, a Spanish teacher living in San José. “I don’t expect big damages to the country. I don’t think it was too strong.”

Miguel Arce, a retired construction worker, said he was sitting in his house watching television when the shaking started. However, he said it didn’t feel particularly strong and he “remained calm.”

“I believe after a few days people will forget today’s incident,” Arce said.

In case of emergency, contact the Costa Rican Red Cross at 2542-5065 or 2233-7279. To report damage caused by the earthquake, contact The Tico Times at info@ticotimes.net.

Adam Williams contributed to this report.

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