1. Bridge Wash out prevents travel to Puerto Viejo and elsewhere....
2. Flood Damage... Fairly extensive but not unusual.
3. COVID: Current status.
1. Route 36 bridge has opened
A bridge reestablishing transit on Route 36 near Penshurst, Limón, was finished and opened early Thursday morning, authorities reported.
“The modular bridge over La Estrella River, which opens the route between the South Caribbean and Limón, has already been enabled,” President Carlos Alvarado said. “A great inter-institutional work allowed to open this important step for tourism and for the transit of goods with Panama, which had been affected by the rains.”
The one-lane bridge spans a section of road that collapsed last weekend due to flooding.
Route 36 is the primary route connecting the south Caribbean with the rest of Costa Rica. The towns of Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Bribri and Sixaola all rely on the road.
While some vehicles with four-wheel drive could reach the south Caribbean via an alternate route, that option wasn’t feasible for most vehicles, including buses.
The new structure supports trucks and other large vehicles. It’s expected to handle about 4,500 vehicles each day.
Other damage in the Talamanca area includes a destroyed school building and railroad bridge. (Both are pictured below)
“We sympathize with the Limonense population, everything that has happened is very painful,” President Alvarado said.
2. Costa Rica begins evaluating flooding damage
The Costa Rican government on Wednesday began a comprehensive evaluation of damage caused by the flooding that occurred last weekend.
Authorities are assessing impacts to agriculture, education, health, road infrastructure and housing, among others, in the 14 cantons named in the State of National Emergency declared by President Carlos Alvarado earlier this week.
The 14 cantons are: San Carlos, Upala, Guatuso, Río Cuarto, Los Chiles, Turrialba, Jiménez, Sarapiquí, Limón, Matina, Pococí, Guácimo, Siquirres and Talamanca.
The preliminary reports are as follows, per the Presidency:
- At least 102 educational centers have suffered some level of affectation.
- Potable water supply was impacted in 24 ASADAS.
- 15 bridges and 21 dams were affected.
- Floods and landslides directly impacted 36 communities throughout the country.
- More than 2,300 people remain in temporary shelters.
- More than 2,800 emergency events (mainly floods and landslides) were reported as a result of the rainfall.
3. ‘The pandemic is not over’ as Costa Rica passes new death milestone
Costa Rica has surpassed 5,000 total deaths related to Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to official sources.
The Health Ministry tallies 5,013 deaths related to the disease. More than half (2,828) have occurred in 2021, including nearly 1,000 since June 1.
“Costa Rica reaches 5,000 deaths from Covid-19. Very sad and painful news,” President Carlos Alvarado wrote on social media. “In their memory and in solidarity with all the people who have lost a loved one to this pandemic, we must continue to take care of ourselves.
“While we are moving toward herd immunity, it is not yet time to let our guard down. We continue to report more than 1,000 cases a day and totaling more than 400,000 cases reminds us of this.
“Let’s keep protecting ourselves: the pandemic is NOT over.”
The average number of daily deaths related to Covid-19 has dropped significantly in July (12) compared to the peak in May and June (23.5).
These deaths are considered “related to” Covid-19 until further analysis confirms the cause of death; historically, 90% of deaths “related to” the disease are ultimately attributed to the virus.
About 16% of Costa Rica’s population has been fully vaccinated, while 46% have received at least one dose of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer formulas. Serious vaccine side effects are exceedingly rare, the Health Ministry says.
The average age of ICU patients with Covid-19 has dropped to 49 years old, down from 60 years old in January.