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According to the rescuers, it will be necessary to wait for the rains to decrease and the rivers to return back to their normal flow before
determining the impacts of the heavy rains.  - Red Cross photo -

Thousands flee flooded homes and hundreds
seek refuge because of the rainstorms

Published Monday, April 19, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The National Emergency Commission reported 220 people rescued from their flooded homes and taken to shelters due to the heavy rains this week.

According to the authorities, among the most affected sites are the cantons of Matina, Guacimo, Sixaola and Talamanca, in the Caribbean Coast, where rescue forces report more than 2,000 flooded houses.

Over the weekend, rescuers distributed food to families living in more difficult-to-reach communities in different cantons, such as Los Angeles, Scotland and Camaroncito in Guácimo Canton.

Food was also delivered to families living in the communities of Las Brisas, La Colina, San José, Bonifé in Sixaola Canton.

Food distributions took place in several communities in the cantons of Matina and Talamanca, which are the places where the majority of families were affected by the floods.

Emergency shelters were established in the public gymnasiums of the communities in Battan, Venezia and Goly, in Matina Canton. A public school also served as a shelter for those in the Catarina community, in Talamanca.

According to the rescuers, it will be necessary to wait for the rains to decrease and the rivers to return back to their normal flow before determining the impacts of the heavy rains.

Among the first evaluations, damages were reported in the dams in Siquirres and Matina, in the bridges over La Estrella and the Quebrada Caño bridges, these Gandoca Canton in Limón Province.

Commission also reports damage in the pipelines in the communities of Jiménez, Siquirres, Talamanca and Matina. This has caused the lack of access to drinking water in these communities. As an alternative, potable water is supplied to the families in these affected areas.

According to the weather report from the Meteorological Institute, unstable conditions continue to be present in the atmosphere. The humidity from maritime areas and the high temperatures develops cloudy centers and consequently strong thunderstorms in several zones of the country.

Experts forecast that for the Pacific Coast more thunderstorms are expected in the afternoons. The heaviest storms are expected in the mountains during the day and at night the rains will be moved near the coasts.

In the case of the middle of the country, Central Valley thunderstorms will happen in the mountains near the northwest zone.

In the Caribbean Coast and the Northern Zone of Guanacaste and Alajuela Province, thunderstorms are expected in the mountains.

The Commission kept the alerts sent since last Friday due to the nonstop rainfall.

Orange Alert status is for the cantons of Matina and Talamanca, in Limón Province, due to massive floods. This alert is established when a high-risk situation can cause an emergency to the people in a specific area.

Yellow Alert is placed on almost the whole country due to the intensification of rains. This status allows emergency committees of each community to prepare prevention protocols.
Citizens must take precautions in their homes, places of study or work. Also, people must be attentive to the communication alerts that the commission provides. Rescuers must be prepared for the search or rescue of people and respond to emergency calls.

Green Alert in the Northern-West zone of Guanacaste Province, specifically the cantons of Hojancha, Nandayure and Nicoya.

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.

The rain intensity increased due to the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone, ICZ, which is located in the southern zone of Central America and getting closer to Costa Rica.

The ICZ, known by sailors as the doldrums or the calms due to the dull windless weather, is the area where the northeast and southeast trade winds converge. The zone appears as a band of clouds, usually, thunderstorms, which circles the globe near the Equator.

Due to the high risk of continuous rains and strong gusts of wind, specialists recommend that in order to avoid accidents, consider the following advice:

• Keep the roof of your house clean.

• Clear a path in the backyard allowing rainwater to move without problems towards 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 that can 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.

• 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 trees 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 in Costa Rica to call 911 to report any possible flooding, fallen trees or landslides.

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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