Nation slowly continues to repair extensive storm damage

The country continues to dig out and make repairs in what has been described as the biggest disaster in 13 years.

Some 16 highways remain closed. Agriculture is heavily damaged and many are homeless.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias said that 1,169 persons continue to be housed in public shelters. That is far less than the 4,000 who were housed at the peak of the emergency. The number of shelters has been reduced to 29 from 86. Some have no where to go.

The emergency commission said that 2,626 homes were damaged as were 439 stretches of roads. Some 85 bridges collapsed or are is such bad condition they cannot be used. The death toll stands at 28, mostly from the landslide that buried homes in San Antonio de Escazú early last Nov. 4.

The Judicial Investigating Organization has a list of seven persons who have not been seen since the storm began.

The Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo donated $200,000 to help with the emergency and the U.S. Embassy put up $50,000. There were crews and aircraft from Panamá, Colombia and Guatemala.

The Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social said it had transferred 32 million colons (about $632,000) to 93 families that suffered losses in one of the 29 affected cantons.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said that 90 per cent of the damaged areas had been fixed. At one place, Playón de Quepos, workers had to put in 1.4 kilometers of new line that had been destroyed by the four days of storms last week. That’s more than three quarters of a mile.

Repair crews will be working through the weekend at locations in Los Santos, Acosta, Parrita, Quepos,
Dominical, Palmar Norte and Buenos Aires. The major problem the crews have is access, the company said.

The company also reported that 99 percent of the cell towers were now in operation. Many had been damaged in the storms.

Much of the damage was in the central Pacific. The company said that some 800 customers remain without telephone or Internet service in Parrita, Manuel Antonio and Bijugual.

The company said that there were 4,819 electrical outages attributed to the storm, 5,141 telephone and Internet outages and 174 cell towers knocked out. Not all Costa Ricans are serviced by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, so there have been many more outages on lines of the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz S.A., the Heredia utility provider and the various electrical cooperatives around the country.

The Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz, S.A. said that five electrical generating plants suffered damage. They are west of the metro area. The Nuestro Amo and Ventanas plants suffered major damage. The plants are insured, the company noted.

As to its electric customers, the company said that Vista de Mar de Goicoechea, Bajo Los Anonos, Bello Horizonte in Escazú. Ciudad Colón, Tarbaca, Aserrí, San Juan de Dios de Desamparados and Cascajal suffered the most damage. Bajo Los Anonos still is out of service because the storm carried away all the electrical infrastructure, the company said.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes is working hard to restore the vital Interamericana Sun that was cut in a handful of places and landslides. That represents part of the 250 kilometers (155 miles) of roads that have been closed.

The ministry said that work continues on the Costanera Sur along the central Pacific but that the road is open for those who need to travel to the southern zone or to Panamá.

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