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Cablegate: Cold Front Affecting Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica And

O 262221Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0307

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000928

BT

DEPARTMENT FOR USAID/OFDA: ROB THAYER
SIPDIS
ALDAC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EAID AEMR ASEC PHUM KFLO CS
SUBJECT: COLD FRONT AFFECTING CARIBBEAN COAST OF COSTA RICA AND
PANAMA: DECLARATION OF DISASTER

1. As result of flood damage caused by the interaction of a high and
low pressure systems on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica from
November 22-26, 2008, the Chief of Mission has determined that the
disaster is of sufficient magnitude to warrant US Government
assistance. The damage has exceeded the effective capacity of the
Costa Rican Government to respond, the Government of Costa Rica is
willing to accept USG assistance, and it is in the best interest of
the US Government to respond. The Chief of Mission is therefore
exercising his Disaster Assistance Authority.

2. Serious flooding has occurred in the Atlantic Coast Region of
Costa Rica as a result of non stop heavy rains. The low tropical
depression caused flooding in the Provinces of Limon, Heredia and
San Jose. The most affected areas of Limon are Siquirres, Pococi,
Matina, Carrandi, Batan and in Talamanca: Sixaola, Bratsi, Cahuita.
In Heredia: Heredia, Barva, Sarapiqui, and San Isidro. According
to the latest report from the National Emergency Commission (CNE),
4890 people are living in 68 shelters as result of the floods caused
by four continuous days of heavy rain. The CNE estimates that 1,200
houses have been affected. In addition, seven bridges, thirty two
sections of roads, one potable water system, and three dikes have
been affected. The Turrialba road is the only road open that
connects San Jose with Limon. This road is being used for emergency
purposes only.

3. The Ambassador's Authority of $50,000 will be used to cover the
costs of local transport and procurement of emergency supplies to
the CNE. The CNE is requesting assistance from the Chief of Mission
to provide air support to transport medical personnel and medical
supplies to the affected area until the flood waters subside and
more roads are open. In addition, the following relief supplies are
being requested based on humanitarian gaps identified by the
USAID/OFDA assessment team on the ground.

100 Boxes of Plastic Sheeting
5,000 Hygiene Kits
5,000 Blankets
5,000 Water Containers
12 Chain Saws

The relief assistance is likely to be channeled through the National
Emergency commission and the Costa Rica Red Cross.

4. President Arias has declared the affected area a disaster zone as
a direct result of the floods. CNE Director Mr. Daniel Gallardo, has
expressed GOCR appreciation and willingness to accept assistance.

5. Additional funds and relief supplies may be requested based on
humanitarian gaps identified by the USAID/OFDA assessment team on
the ground. Relief assistance is likely to be channeled through the
National Emergency Commission and the Costa Rica Red Cross.

CIANCHETTE

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