Monday, June 02, 2008

Tropical storm "Alma" causes over $30 million of damage in Costa Rica

Franklin Lopez scoops mud from his home after heavy rains from Tropical Storm Alma caused flooding in Parrita, Costa Rica, Friday, May 30, 2008. Tropical Storm Alma weakened to a depression and swept across Central America on Friday, dumping rain and leaving flooded coastal towns in its wake. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)The government of Costa Rica signed a national emergency decree Monday to rally reconstruction efforts in communities hardest hit by last week's tropical storm "Alma."

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said the emergency decree will give the authorities faster access to economic resources and more flexibility in allocating the necessary money to meet urgent needs like repairing bridges and roads.

The Costa Rican National Emergencies Commission (CNE) reported that some 20 cities and counties were battered by the storm, which caused widespread flooding, with 21,000 people directly affected, about 1,152 houses ruined and more than 130 roads cut off. Direct economic loses are estimated to be $30 million.

"We are caught short by the estimated damages. Based on the estimation we decided to declare national emergency," said Arias.

CNE Executive President Daniel Gallardo said teams from the commission had reached more than 90 percent of the villages left isolated by the storm.

He said more damage may be reported as government workers went back to affected communities after water levels lowered.

Source: Xinhua News

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