Saturday, November 29, 2008

Floods leave 46,000 people homeless in Costa Rica

A Costa Rican Red Cross member helps evacuate two residents stranded in the flooded Sixaola area. (Photo:Carlos Rodriguez/Al Dia Newspaper)(Xinhua) - The flooding caused by heavy rains during the past days has left at least 46,000 people homeless and caused at least $22 million in losses in Costa Rica, the National Commission of Emergencies (CNE) said Friday.

CNE President Daniel Gallardo told reporters that highways, roads and crops suffered damage, and economic loss is expected to rise as houses and aqueducts need to be repaired and water wells cleaned.

The CNE said that among the homeless, nearly 6,000 people remained at shelters until Thursday, and 35 towns isolated by water could only be accessed by air.

Landslides blocked the road linking San Jose and Limon. The Limon port, 150 km east of San Jose, is the main departure point of exports.

Because of the disaster, the authorities have decided to postpone the National Sports Games Limon 2009 until June.

The Costa Rican government is considering a declaration of "national emergency" to channel $4 million to the most affected areas.

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