Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Death toll in Costa Rica quake rises to 23

Former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher smiles at Nidalin Mendoza, 5, during his visit to shelter for people left homeless by Thursday's 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Poasito de Vara Blanca, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)Seven-times Formula One champion Michael Schumacher visited the disaster area

San Jose, Costa Rica (AP) — The death toll from Costa Rica's magnitude-6.2 earthquake has risen to 23 after three more bodies were found.

The country's judicial investigative agency says the latest bodies were uncovered at the site of a collapsed restaurant in the town of Cinchona. The victims were the restaurant's owner and two of his children.

The quake rocked the Central American nation last Thursday, unleashing massive landslides.

President Oscar Arias called for international aid for the devastated area on Wednesday.

German Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, who was in Costa Rica for a previously scheduled appearance at a traffic safety event, toured the region around Poas volcano -which was hit hardest- with Costa Rican Transport Minister Karla Gonzalez.

Schumacher was shocked and concerned over the extent of the damage caused by last week's earthquake in Costa Rica. The seven-times Formula One champion noted sadly that "so many families have lost their homes."

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