More shelters may be equipped due to the increase in emergencies caused by floods, landslides, falling trees
and damage to roads, as a result of the rains.  - National Emergency Commission photo -

Published Thursday, November 5, 2020

More than 1,000 people
in shelters due to Eta

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

On Wednesday, the National Emergency Commission opened 30 shelters in 20 cantons to attend more than 1,000 people who were at risk due to emergencies caused by the Eta Tropical Storm.

The shelters are located in the cantons of Liberia, Cañas, Bagaces, Hojancha, Nandayure, Nicoya and La Cruz, in Guanacaste Province, as well as Corredores, Parrita, Puntarenas downtown, Coto Brus and Paquera, in Puntarenas Province, among others.

According to the commission, more shelters may be equipped due to the increase in emergencies caused by floods, landslides, falling trees and damage to roads, as a result of the rains.

During Tuesday and Wednesday, the operators of the 911 emergency line have been answering a massive number of emergency calls, according to Alexander Solís, president of the commission. Only in the early hours of Wednesday, there were more than a reported 500 emergencies of floods due to overflowing rivers, landslides and tree fall.

According to Solis, most of the emergencies were reported from the northern zone of the Pacific Coast, in cantons such as Cañas, Bagaces, Liberia, Nandayure, Hojancha, La Cruz, Nicoya, Carrillo, Santa Cruz, all of these in Guanacaste Province.

Another area where a large number of emergency reports were also registered in the cantons of Garabito, Parrita, Quepos Corredores, Osa and Buenos Aires, these in the Puntarenas Province.

The Meteorological Institute forecasted continuity of rains, as Eta made its way to Honduras. According to specialists, the tropical storm is located 200 km northeast of Managua Canton in Nicaragua, it continues to advance towards Honduras at a speed of 11 km / h, with winds of 75 km / h.

The maximum amounts of rainfall recorded on Wednesday were 103 mm in Ciudad Nelly Canton and 96 mm in Osa Canton, both in the northern part of the Pacific Coast.

The storm will move towards the west-northwest, a slight increase in translation speed is anticipated as it enters Honduras, also, a gradual reduction in the intensity of the winds is estimated until it degrades into a tropical depression during this night.

The large size of this natural phenomenon is generating an indirect influence on Costa Rica with expected downpours in the Pacific Coast, the Central Valley ((includes cities surrounding San José such as Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago) and the North Zone of Alajuela Province.

Authorities of the Commission raised five cantons to Red Alert, such as Nicoya, Nandayure and Hojancha in Guanacaste Province, in addition to Corredores and Coto Brus in Puntarenas Province. This is because the saturation of the soils, the level of damage and the increase of the rains during the night of Wednesday and early Thursday.

Red Alert is established when a threat increases in levels of size, extension or severity, requiring mobilization of all the necessary resources to attend to emergencies. Under this alert, the rescue organization proceeds to evacuate and secure the affected population.

Orange Alert status for the northern zone of Pacific Coast (Guanacaste Province) and Central Pacific Coast (central zone of Puntarenas Province). This alert is established when a high-risk situation can cause an emergency to the people in a specific area.

A Yellow Alert was established such as the northern zone of Alajuela Province, southern Pacific Coast and the Central Valley. The alert status serves as an announcement for the rescue forces to prepare for an increased danger of a natural phenomenon that will affect the population in a specific region.

The Green Alert was established on the Caribbean Coast (Limón Province). This alert is given when it is anticipated that a meteorological phenomenon endangers a specific area in the country. The authorities activate the community's emergency commissions to take action due to the danger related to the alert.

Due to the high risk of continuous rains, specialists stress the following to avoid accidents, damage to structures and emergencies during the green season:

• Keep the roof of your house clean.

• Clear a path in the backyard allowing rainwater to move without problems toward the drainage, which helps to avoid damages and leaks in the house.

• Pick up the garbage so that it does not fall on the pipes or drains on the sidewalks.

• Avoid that solvents, oils, acids or corrosive liquids fall into the sewer pipes and deteriorate them.

• Organize the cleaning of public areas such as river banks in your community to avoid flooding.

• Report the lack of concrete caps or grids in the pipes to the Aqueduct Institute by calling 2547-6555.

Authorities call on the public to take the following precautionary measures:

• Stay informed about the alerts issued by the authorities.

• People living in mountain areas should increase precautionary measures against a possible landslide or material falling from the high areas of the hills.

• Have an emergency evacuation plan in the community, work and home.

• Drivers must increase precautions for heavy rain and fog.

• Take precautionary measures in case of electrical storms.

• Be alert in vulnerable areas to flooding due to sewer saturation or increase of river flow.

• In case of a thunderstorm, take refuge in a safe place.

• In case of strong wind gusts, be alert to possible falling tree branches or electrical cables.

• In the event of a landslide, do not walk on the debris, stay away from affected areas, and do not return home until authorities verify that it is a safe place.

Authorities ask for the people to call 911 to report any possible flooding, fallen trees or landslides in the country.

A.M. Costa Rica urges readers to share this alert with their contacts.

What emergencies have you heard of due to the thunderstorms in your community? 
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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