Current state of Rio Frio. Photo by by Arianna Mckinney
Although Rio Rosario is now low enough to be crossed, the mud that has piled up on its sides does not allow any vehicles to go through. Rolf Lichtenstein, owner of Luna Azul Hotel, along with other entrepreneurs from San Juanillo, have organized themselves in order to hire a backhoe to rehabilitate the road.
Ostional remains cut off and the provisions that were promised to the 184 families by the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias (CNE) have not arrived. However, the head of the Ministerio de Descentralización, Juan Marín, explained to the VON they are coordinating helicopter departures from Liberia in order to create an airlift that will bring food and supplies to Ostional.
The town's pulperías, or small grocery stores, are now empty and, although motorcycles are able to come into Nosara through the hammock bridge over the Rio Montaña, residents don't have money to purchase groceries. William Bran Gómez, from Ostional's Asociación de Guías Locales (Local Guides Association) explained that “since people were unable to work this past week, they did not receive their salary and therefore have no money to purchase things".
According to Dorian Méndez, of Ostional's MINAE, “fortunately, we have not dealt with any serious health issues, there have only been some flu outbreaks”. The community has been cut off ever since the rivers overflowed on Monday, November 1st. On Monday, the electric power transformer exploded, leaving residents in the dark for over four days. Finally, on Friday, November 5th, the town's power was restored.
Like Ostional, San Juanillo was cut off on Saturday, when the bridge over the Rio Marbella was seriously damaged as a tree fell over it and tree trunks built up under its plank. Although the bridge was "cleaned up" with a backhoe by the Policia de Transito, the road remains closed as a preventive measure. The area can only be accessed by foot or on a motorcycle.
Howard Kramer, a resident of Zaragoza, reported that the road is in terrible conditions and that currently "people can only go through, with great caution, on a four-wheel drive vehicle". On Saturday, Nicoya's Municipalidad was working on repairing the road with two trucks and a tractor. According to Kramer, the truck made eight trips filled with rocks, dirt and other material but was only able to clear up a 10 meter area. “I don't know what the Municipalidad's plan is, but it's sure going to be difficult for them to reach the worst part," Kramer mentioned, referring to the 9 kilometers that separate Zaragoza from Los Ángeles, the town that leads directly into Nosara. Today (Sunday), the repair works were not continued.
After the job done with the backhoe, the access over the Rio Frio continues to be by foot only. According to Miguel Arguedas, one of the area's truck drivers, "the river water barely reaches our feet, but it is impossible to cross it with vehicles since these can't go down into the river". As Arguedas mentioned, since there is a 2 meter difference between the road and the river, it can only be crossed with four-wheel drive vehicles. However, extreme precautions and care must be taken.
Machinery is already working several meters down the bridge, cleaning the mud and leveling the road with stones in order to restore access to trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles. However, the work must be done slowly since, in that part of the river, there is still over one meter of water.