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Samara Remains Under Red Alert After Earthquake
Medical Services Are Limited

By Arianna McKinney

People wait in line to get water and food supplies at the shelter in El Torito Community Hall.

Still under red alert, 236 men, women and children are sleeping and eating in three designated shelters in the district of Samara, the epicenter of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that shook and shocked many on Wednesday morning, September 5th. 

Two days after the big earthquake, in the shelter in El Torito community hall, children played and bicycled around inside the hall as others sat around the edges of the hall on mattresses or waited in line for water and food rations. 

Midday on Friday, September 7, representatives from community organizations convened at the request of Adriana Rodriguez, vice mayor and president of the canton’s emergency committee, to review damage caused by the quake and discuss necessary measures to address current and future emergency needs. 

First item of business: identifying more shelters in case more need shelter as aftershocks continue, now numbering more than 1000.  Bonifacio Diaz, syndic for the district of Samara, indicated that 74 are being sheltered in the Santo Domingo community hall, 72 in the El Torito community hall and 90 in the corridors of a large private home at the entrance of Santo Domingo.

Diaz reported that one house in San Fernando is uninhabitable and another with serious damage, in addition one house in El Torito was completely destroyed and another seriously damaged.  One bridge between Samara and Carrillo also caused concern, according to Diaz, although the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) told VON that the bridges in the Samara area are fine. 

While the high school didn’t suffer damage, the drop ceiling and one wall in the office of the elementary school were damaged and the screen of the director’s computer was damaged when it fell.
Samara Police Chief Jose Angel Gomez Matarrita reported distributing 100 mattresses as well as foam cushions and sheets to the various shelters, but nowhere near enough for everyone. Some children have been sleeping on the concrete floor. 

Men, women and children have found shelter at the El Torito Community Hall.

Most of those who are using the shelters are from El Torito, the Pueblo Nuevo squatter’s village and Matapalo. Gomez has received some reports of thefts, especially of chickens, from some who have been in the shelters, leaving their homes in the squatter’s village unattended.

Virginia Mendoza Hernandez, a resident of the squatter’s village, related that many of the wood bases that the homes are built on were unsettled by the quake, causing the houses to lean. Now, her husband is repairing their home, and neighbors are periodically making rounds of the village to discourage more thefts. 

Food and Water: Lack of Basic Needs
Julia Perez Perez hasn’t been sleeping in the shelter, even though her home in El Torito is below the hill in El Torito in risk of a landslide. Nevertheless, she has been going to the shelter in the community hall to get water. 

The town’s water pipes were damaged with many leaks, reported Sergio Jiron Martinez, assisting the president of the development association. However, on Friday a team from the El Torito ASADA was working on fixing the pipes and promised to have the tank full so there would be no more lack of water.  

Jiron Martinez reported that although 74 slept in the El Torito shelter on Thursday night, more than 100 were there during the day for provisions.

Beatrice Jiron Arias, coordinating the shelter, said that for the first couple of days people brought what food they could from home, but food supplies finally arrived on Friday from PANI (Patronato Nacional de la Infancia- National Council of Infancy), at the request of the National Emergency Committee (CNE).  

Although the worst may be over, Jiron Arias said that it may be a while before some have permanent housing again, especially some from the squatter’s village whose wooden ranches collapsed.  Since they are categorized as intruders, she explained that the CNE won’t help them rebuild their homes. 
Samara’s and Cangrejal’s ASADA reported no problems with water after the quake. 

Medical Services Limited in Samara
Another serious issue has been lack of medical services.  After the earthquake, broken glass and concerns about the building’s age and structural integrity prompted the medical team to shut down the Ebais clinic.

They didn’t reopen until Friday 7th, and then only providing service for emergency and chronic cases (only 14 total had been attended by 2 p.m. on Friday) in order to avoid having many people in the building in case an aftershock might cause further damage. 

The town’s private clinic is also closed until Monday September 10th since the doctor is away for a conference. 

This prompted community leaders to write a letter to the minister and vice minister of public security requesting a mobile medical unit, as well as a letter to the mayor and vice mayor requesting support from the government such as an ambulance and information about the current situation to allay fears among the population. 

Neighbors Helped Others Evacuate Samara
Shortly after the earthquake on Wednesday, September 5th, the police issued an order to evacuate to higher ground due to a possible tsunami warning. Police Chief Jose Angel Gomez Matarrita said that everyone cooperated with the evacuation and within 25 minutes they were able to clear the town. To ensure the safety of all, Matarrita noted that some were willing to lend their vehicles to transport people who didn’t have a way of evacuating.   


More Regional News

Fined Foreigners Face Re-entry Ban

According to the new Ley de Transito (traffic law), foreigners who do not pay a traffic ticket before leaving Costa Rica will be denied re-entry into the country on their next visit – whether by land or air.

Legislators Approve Moratorium on Evictions in Coastal Communities
“Decision of the President is Only a Postponement of the Evictions, Not a Solution” Gerardo Chaves Cordero (CIMACO)

The Legislative Assembly has approved in both the first and second debates a law that establishes a 24-month moratorium to halt evictions of inhabitants of special zones, including the maritime land zone.

Samara Discusses Disaster Preparedness

Although, the red alert was lowered to yellow and shelters were shut down, many remain nervous with so many aftershocks – over 1700 by Tuesday 11- and the possibility of another big quake.

Psychologists Visit Nosara and Samara to Calm People’s Nerves

On Monday, September 10, a group of 10 psychologists from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the College of Psychologists arrived in the communities of Samara and Nosara to meet with the populace and school teachers with the goal of giving them post-earthquake therapy.

This Was the Anticipated Earthquake for Nicoya, but Seismic Potential Remains

The September 5, 2012 earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara had a magnitude and location in the place foreseen by the scientific work published by OVSICORI during the last fifteen years. 

Effect on Tourism in the Coast Should Be Minimal

Optimism abounds as people in Samara and Nosara have assessed damages caused by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday, September 5th with the epicenter in Cangrejal of Samara. Some have commented that it was fortunate that the earthquake happened during the day since injuries and structural damages were minimal.

Was This the Big One?

Three days after the 7.6 magnitude earthquake shook the country, a lot of information has been received  and processed by the Costa Rican Sismology and Volcanology Observatory (OVSICORI); nonetheless conclusions are few and progressive. 

Nicoya Requests Collaboration of Civil Engineers to Facilitate Home Inspections
240 Homes Affected

The Municipality of Nicoya requested the voluntary help of associated civil engineers to evaluate the damages suffered by houses and buildings alter the earthquake on Wednesday morning. 

Bridges over Rio Montaña and Nosara Not Seriously Damaged
RAASA Will Begin Work on Route 160 on Saturday, the 8th

After the 7.6 magnitude earthquake on September 5th, the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) assured that the bridges over Río Montaña and Nosara River not only withstood the strong shaking of the quake and aftershocks, but additionally the structures don’t show severe damages.

Not Everyone Can Return to Daily Life After Earthquake

Although aftershocks continue to be felt constantly—now numbering more than 1,000—people are returning to their normal lives. For many, this is easy to do since their homes and businesses didn’t sustain damage or the damage was minimum after the earthquake on Wednesday, September 5th.

Video of 7.6 Earthquake in Nosara 

President Chinchilla Came to Nicoya to Evaluate Situation
-Vice-Minister of Housing inspected damage in Nosara

Thursday morning, September 6th, President of the Republic Laura Chinchilla toured various parts of the canton in order to evaluate the situation 24 hours alter the earthquake with epicenter in Samara Beach

Engineers Survey Nosara Damage

Two engineers from the Architects and Engineer Federal College were present in Nosara this Thursday, September 6th, observing homes and surveying the damage resulting from the 7.6 magnitude earthquake, which struck in the morning hours of September 5th, 2012.

7.6 Earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara
Information from the National Seismological Network (UCR)

8 km to the northeast of Samara
15 kilometers deep
7.6 intensity on the Richter scale
Felt as far away as Nicaragua

7.6 Earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara
7.6 Magnitude Earthquake Damages Several Structures in Nicoya

This Wednesday, September 5th a powerful, magnitude-7.6 earthquake struck approximately 8 kilometers northeast from the town of Samara, generating a strong quake whose force was felt throughout the country, but mostly on the Nicoya Peninsula.

7.6 Earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara
Municipality of Nicoya and National Emergency Commission Assessing Damages in Nosara

At around 2 p.m. a meeting was held with representatives of the Municipality of Nicoya, who arrived in Nosara to evaluate structural damages in the town in order to report to the National Emergency Commission (CNE). 

46% of Ticos Lack Faith in the Police
Opinions in Nosara and Samara are Mixed

The absolute trust that the majority of Costa Ricans once had in the officers of the Public Force has been diminishing through the years, giving way to an increase in the perception of greater insecurity in the country, according to reports from the United Nations Development Program (PNUD).

Nosara Center Asphalt Project Still in the Works

The project to pave two kilometers in the center of Nosara is being held up due to a funding issue in the municipality, so it might be a couple more months before the project can be completed. 

Municipality Looks to Recover Green Zones and Public Areas

The municipality is trying to sort out registries of lands in Garza, Nosara and Samara that are improperly registered. The lands include green zones, public property and streets in Samara and Nosara, as well as concessionable lands in the maritime zone of Garza.

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