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Saturday 17 January 2009, San José, Costa Rica

Cinchona Is Inhabitable, Experts Say
Western Union Forgives Fees For Transfers To Earthquake Victims
15% to 25% Hike In Electrical Rates Approved
Salud Begins
Vaccination Program Of Children Against Pneumococcal Disease
AvVenta Expansion Will Add 1.500 More Jobs in Costa Rica
Cinchona Is Inhabitable, Experts Say
Ignacio Chaves, geologist for the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias (CNE), could not be more explicit "in my opinion, in this place no one can not return".

The geologist was giving his opinion after an inspection of the damage caused by the January 8 earthquake on Cinchona de Sarapiquí, in Alajuela.

The expert said that there is no room to rebuild the town "because there is nothing left". Cinchona was the closest to the epicentre of the 6.2 quake and was completely destroyed.

Chaves believes that apart from the strong earthquake, the moisture in the area, the high slope and deforestation exacerbated the disaster zone in the wild, between Cinchona and La Paz.

The geologist added that if the earthquake had occurred during the winter months, the disaster would have been even worse.

During the rescue and recovery efforts, many spoke about their intention of rebuilding their town. However, the head of the CNE, Daniel Gallardo, considers that the entire area should be declared inhabitable. The area, according to experts is extreme volatile and is not a location apt to habitation.

The earthquake of January 8 destroyed not only many of the area factories, like that of food producer El Ángel, a major employer in the area, but also diary farms and many small businesses that depended on the local trade.

More than a week later, the earth in Cinchona keep rumbling. All week there have been a series of aftershocks and tremors from other faults, Thursday alone there were 10 tremors in the area and Friday morning, the lastet tremor to be felt in the area and most of the Central Valley was the 3.9 at 5:48am.

That tremor had a depth of 5.6 kilometres and centred between Cinchona and San Miguel de Sarapiquí, Alajuela, according to the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (Ovsicori).

The rain that has been falling in the area since Thursday afternoon and cloud cover has forced recovery efforts, grounding helicopters and rescue workers.

Carlos Gutiérrez of the Cruz Roja Costarricense (Red Cross) said that due to metereological conditions and mudslides from the constant tremors, their efforts have been hampered and fear accidents of rescue teams.

At least 8 people are still list as missing in Cinchona.

The CNE had said earlier this week that rescue and recovery efforts would be diminished beginning on Sunday, though it is considering extending the efforts for one or more day more and is asking for those people who have homes to go back to, to do so.

A team of psychologits and other experts have been doing a home to home canvass of the area to assess damage and the emotional condition of the residents of the area.

All over the country, especially in San Jose and the Central Valley, all types of activities are planned for people to come and donate their time, goods and money.

Local radio and television stations have all set up donation centres outside their studios, Teletica in La Sabana and Repretel in La Uruca.

La Central de Radios, which operates Radio Reloj, Radio Monumental and a host of other radio stations has programmed a free concert outisde their studios in La Uruca, on the south side of the Pablo II bridge and are asking people to come out and donate.





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