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Survivor of Cinchona Earthquake urges Samara to be prepared
Local committee appointed to organize Samara for emergencies

By Arianna McKinney

“Never say never,” urged Silvia Mejia Zamora in tears during a community meeting in Samara on Wednesday, March 9th. She explained that she was one of those people who thought that a disaster like an earthquake would never really happen. She was just going about her normal business doing laundry. Her husband had gone to work and her children were playing when the 6.2 earthquake hit with an epicenter 4 kilometers southeast of Cinchona. Her cousin and his children died in the earthquake. “Losing a loved one hurts a lot and seeing your house, your town destroyed hurts a lot,” she said. 

Silvia was one of five guests who came to share experiences with the Samara community in a meeting organized by VON and the Municipal and National Committees of Emergencies to better prepare for possible emergencies like earthquakes. 

The warning seems even more appropriate as just two days later Samara and other coastal towns were warned of possible tsunami effects after the 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan, one of the strongest earthquakes on record

Important Information About Tsunamis

At the beginning of the meeting, information about tsunamis was shared by Shusuke Irabu, a specialist in disaster prevention from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) who has been working with the Nicoya CME and CNE.  “(if) we have more knowledge, so we have more chance to be prepared,” he commented.

Do to a lack of knowledge, tourists went out to the beach during the 2004 Indonesia tsunmai disaster and died tragically.  In the case of a tsunami, he said, the only way to save yourself is to get to a high place.  Irabu showed the audience a photo to illustrate an important warning sign of an approaching tsunami: all the water near the beach appears white.

He said that earthquakes with at least 6.0 magnitude can generate tsunamis under the ocean.  If a strong earthquake were to take place near the coast of Costa Rica, he estimated that the waves might reach shore within 5-10 minutes, but said it is best to evacuate to higher ground on foot to avoid car accidents that might happen if many people at once try to leave in cars.
Cinchona Experience Shows the Importance of Organization

The earthquake in Cinchona affected a population of 125,584 people, leaving 23 dead, 7 missing, 100 injured, 2387 homes damaged, 781 homes completely destroyed and causing millions and millions of dollars in damages and economic losses.  While reviewing the impact, Agustin Jimenez Araya, facilitator for the United Nations Program for Development (PNUD) made the point that the disaster was worse because of lack of control of construction permits and inspections and because people in the communities don’t know who to coordinate with. 

On the other hand, a positive example was cited by Jose Fabio Madriz Castro, in charge of police preventive programs for the Public Fforce.  He said the community of El Roble, located about 10 kilometers from Los Cartagos, was so well organized and prepared, that within 45 minutes they were ready to receive the earthquake victims.

Local Committee Named to Prepare Samara

The new Samara Emergency Committee members are:
Luis Humberto Acosta Fajardo, coordinator
Leda Maria Espinoza Mataritta, subcoordinator;
Eduardo Arnez Montes, secretary
Bonifacio Diaz Zuñiga, fiscal
Vocals :Francisco Valencia Carillo and Andy Ruiz Lopez.  Elias Mora Villalobos agreed to work on shelters,Jose Feliz Acosta Lopez on volunteers and Daniela Retana Medrano on Information Management.

More Regional News

Tsunami Alert

Population on the coast should evacuate  to higher altitudes

After an 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck Japan and 10 meter high waves hit the country, the National Emergency Commission announced a green alarm on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. As a tsunami might hit the coast around 4 p.m., coastal residents are advised to start evacuating to higher altitudes starting from 2 p.m. More >

Bathers are unprotected by lack of lifeguards on beaches

“At 11:30 a.m. she came in, hugged everybody and said she wanted to go to the beach. At 1:30 p.m., she drowned". Just like that, with those words, Jim MacKenzie narrated Kattia María Umaña Chaverri's death, which took place on January 25th. The lack of warning signs on dangerous beach areas put the life of three teenagers at risk, killing their mother. More >

Presidential Visit
President Chinchilla Complains in Nicoya Over Lack of Money

At almost 12:00 p.m. and under a burning sun, a long line of people that almost reached the high table assembled, holding in their hands letters and envelopes of all sizes with petitions for the President. Irene Pacheco, the President's assistant, was in charge of receiving a total of 96 petitions. More >

Interview with John Perkins, author of best-seller
“Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”

“The people are taking back our power”

While the world’s attention may be on the democracy movement in Egypt, Latin America has also experienced a major move toward democracy in the wake of diminished power of the United States, according to bestselling author John Perkins. More >

New Dike Proposal for Nosara Meets with Doubts
• Project will cost over $3 million
• New community emergency committee named for Nosara

In a behind-schedule effort to comply with a resolution issued by the constitutional court (Sala Constitucional), engineers from SENARA (Servicio Nacional de Aguas Subterráneas Riego y Avenamiento) on Thursday, February 3rd presented a proposal to build an eight-meter-wide (24 feet) dike and sections of dikes using high-quality materials to diminish the impact of the flooding of the Nosara River during heavy rains.
More >

Traffic Police Seeks to Reorganize Nicoya's City Limits
• Heavy vehicle drivers invade restricted zones

The road chaos that has prevailed for the past five years in the city of Nicoya upsets and concerns its residents, who demand a reorganization.

Missing, fallen or misplaced traffic signs, a blurry road demarcation, vehicles parked on restricted areas or taxi stops and vehicles driving the wrong way down the street are just some of the irregularities seen in Nicoya. More >

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