Emergency response in Costa Rica due to flooding, landslides

A widespread emergency response is underway in Costa Rica.

A widespread emergency response is underway in Costa Rica as large portions of the country are enduring significant flooding and infrastructure damage.

More than 1,500 people have been evacuated to 29 temporary shelters, and 36 of Costa Rica’s 82 cantons have been impacted in some way by persistent, heavy rainfall.

Among the most affected areas are:

  • The Caribbean: Matina, Limon, Valle de la Estrella, Sixaola and Cahuita.

  • The canton of Turrialba, Cartago.

  • The Northern Zone: Sarapiquí, Upala and Guatuso.

A damaged bridge on Route 36, which connects the southern Caribbean (e.g. Puerto Viejo, Cahuita) with the rest of Costa Rica, is of immediate concern, said President Carlos Alvarado. The National Emergency Commission will airlift supplies to that region of the country until repairs can be made.

The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) says rain will continue Saturday and Sunday, particularly in the Northern Zone.

Much of Costa Rica is under a Red Alert due to the weather, which indicates that evacuations and emergency response efforts are necessary:

“We cannot look at this as an isolated incident. These rains, these extreme phenomena are related to climate change, to which we must adapt,” said President Carlos Alvarado.

As of early Saturday afternoon, water levels have not receded, which has prevented a full evaluation of damage, authorities said. The latest reports indicate:

  • Damage to eight roads, two bridges and three levees.

  • Impacts to drinking water in 18 areas.

  • Impacts to telecommunications services in 49 areas.

At least three people have been reported missing during the emergency.

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