Relentless Rain Causes Major Flooding, Isolates Communities In Costa Rica
Monday, January 12, 2009
Silver Spring, Maryland--Torrential rainfall along Costa Rica's eastern coast has flooded the rain-weary Caribbean province of Limón, destroying homes, damaging local infrastructure and isolating more than 100 communities. In response, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) provided emergency food baskets for more than 570 residents struggling to recover from what has been reported as the worst rainfall to hit the region in more than 60 years.
Between December 22 and December 23, ADRA delivered 115 food baskets to displaced families in the cantons of Matina, Siquirres, Talamanca, Sixaola, and their surrounding districts. Packed with basic food items, including beans, oil, rice, salt, sugar, and wheat flour, each basket was calculated to provide a sufficient amount of food to feed a family of five for seven days. Priority was given to families living in shelters and that had not yet received assistance from any other organizations.
The distribution was funded through a partnership between ADRA International, the ADRA Inter-America Regional Office, and ADRA Costa Rica.
A cold front that moved toward the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama triggered the intense rainfall in late November, creating a low-pressure system that brought strong winds and excessive rains. The slow moving storm flooded rivers, triggering mudflows and landslides, which resulted in an estimated $77 million in damages, according to Costa Rica’s National Commission of Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention (CNE).
More than 10,000 people were affected by the flooding, which isolated 111 communities, damaged approximately 1,200 homes, and destroyed several bridges. An estimated 24,710 acres (10,000 hectares) of banana crops were lost, causing widespread devastation to Costa Rica’s banana industry, one of the world’s largest.
Of major concern is the lack of potable water, a problem that could increase the risk of contracting waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery, according to José María Vallejos, president of ADRA Costa Rica.
Since the start of the 2008 Atlantic and Pacific hurricane seasons in May, Central America was struck by a mixture of tropical storms, depressions, and heavy rains, including Tropical Storm Alma, which affected 55,000 Costa Ricans in late May. This latest flooding happened only weeks after Tropical Depression 16 forced the evacuation of 100,000 in the region and caused severe flooding and landslides throughout northwestern Costa Rica in October, killing seven, and affecting 92,000.
Before the end of the Atlantic hurricane season on November 30, 16 named storms had swept through the region, as well as eight hurricanes, five of them major. According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2008 was one of the most destructive hurricane seasons on record, second only to 2005, when hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused more than $128 billion in damages.
ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race, or ethnicity.
Additional information about ADRA can be found at www.adra.org.
Author: Nadia McGill
Media Contact: John Torres, Senior Public Relations Manager, ADRA International 12501 Old Columbia Pike Silver Spring, MD 20904 Phone: 301.680.6357 E-mail: Media.Inquiries@adra.org