President signs flood disaster decree

The government formalized its emergency decree Tuesday and designated the province of Limón and the cantons of Turrialba and Sarapiquí as locations where aid would be expended.

The decree by President Luis Guillermo Solís includes all the cantons of the province of Limón.

The decree allows more flexibility in distributing aid money. The action had been promised since Sunday.

The government said Tuesday that some 150 rivers still were running strong as a result of a week of rain.

The emergency is not over.

The  Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said Tuesday night that a high pressure area was creating strong winds in the country and that up to an inch of rain had fallen in the northern zone and on the Caribbean coast.

The weather institute predicted double that amount of rain into the early morning hours.

Heavy rains and winds caused power outages Monday night on the Nicoya Peninsula and in the area served by the Parrita substation in the central Pacific, said the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad. Some 50 technicians were working to restore power Tuesday afternoon, the firm said. The Nicoya substation was the one at  Santa Rita, Nandayure.

The Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo said that some pipelines were damaged by the ríos  Lajas and Torito in Talamanca.

The national road agency said Tuesday morning that Ruta 32 has been reopened after landslide debris was cleared. There still is a problem with Ruta 4 that joins with Ruta 32 at Río Frio. A section of bridge collapsed. In all some 11 bridges were damaged by the week of rain.

The damage to the petroleum pipelines also could be considered bridge problems because the pipes cross the rivers on narrow spans.

Solís was supposed to inspect the Ruta 32 slide site at Kilometer 29 early today and then take a plane three times during the day to fly over affected areas in the northern part of the country. He plans to do the same in the southern part of the country Thursday, Casa Presidencial said.

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