Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Angels of mercy for earthquake victims

I am offering this photo of the angel on the top of Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, the most sacred site in Costa Rica, as a remembrance to the victims of the large earthquake at the end of last week and to thank the relief efforts of those who provide emergency services to the victims.

An update to the news that I posted yesterday about the Costa Rican earthquake is that the Red Cross has a confirmed death toll of 18, and has reduced the number of missing from 89 to 23. The major foreign embassies have reported that none of their citizens are among the missing.

The Costa Rican government has issued emergency declarations for several areas in order to speed relief and assistance to earthquake victims.

The areas subject to the emergency declarations do not include any areas of Guanacaste, the northwest region of the country in which Tamarindo and the international airport in Liberia are located. I mention this because I noticed that yesterday quite a few people landed on this website by doing Google searches regarding whether the earthquake affected areas such as Tamarindo, the airport in Liberia, Papagayo, or other beach resort areas, and the answer is that it did not. The earthquake could not even be felt in Tamarindo.

Hopefully visitors will not change their travel plans to come to Costa Rica because of the earthquake, as the country particularly needs the economic benefits of tourism now.

The Bank of Costa Rica has set up an emergency relief fund to help victims. The Bank will match any donations to the fund received before January 23, up to $450,000 USD. Information about how to donate money is available on the Bank's website.

Costa Rica has an emergency preparedness government agency, but the country does not have a military. It therefore does not have some of the heavy military equipment that is used by some other countries for logistics for disaster relief. The United States and Columbia have loaned to Costa Rica four Blackhawk-style helicopters, which are larger than any helicopters available locally. They have been used to deliver emergency supplies and to evacuate people and bodies. Heavy earth-moving equipment has been clearing landslides that have blocked roadways in areas cut off by the earthquake.

The newspaper carried a story that the first news and information about the earthquake came not from the traditional media of newspapers, television or radio, but was transmitted by ordinary citizens on the internet. The newspaper noted that networking sites on the internet have transformed regular citizens into participants, not merely recipients, of the dissemination of news during times of emergency.


Jarart said...

This is a good post for today. Very appropriate.

glenda said...

Very nice photo to honor the victims of earthquake.

David said...

Glenda and Jarart,
Thank you. I plan to do a post towmorrow that evokes a renewal theme, then return to regular postings thereafter, unless something else earth-shaking happens.

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