Costa Rica's Rainy Season Increases Landslides for Over Half the Country

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Over  60% of the Costa Rica is mountainous, so this percentage is prone to landslides and mudslides, especially with the continuing heavy rains.

    The Head of the Research and Risk Analysis of the National Emergency Commission, Didier Esquivel, stressed that landslide danger is higher in some specific places, but one must consider that those who do not live in these listed areas, should know that they can also be prone to slippage, so one should not lower guard in rainy days.

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    Vulnerable places with historical landslide problems are: Tapezco in Santa Ana, El Tablazo in Forsaken, The Burío and Los Mangos in Aserrí, Potrerillos in Acosta and various places in Puriscal and Los Santos.

    “It is important that people are aware and watch out for these sites that are many, but they should know that landslides can occur anywhere and anytime, especially when we have wet conditions as it has been presented in the last days, for example in Guanacaste, Central and South Pacific,” emphasized Esquivel, adding that in some of these sites there are communities or simply routes that go through there.

    The concern of the authorities of the Emergency Commission is that more and more people come to inhabit these areas so the risk is also increasing.

    For experts of this area, knowing in real time how much it rained in one day is very important because this information is obtained to determine the conditions of the area.

    Saturated soils

    One aspect that at this time also concerned authorities is atmospheric instability that has arisen in recent days and may be saturating the soil, which in turn could lead to flooding and landslides.

    “A strong storm can be developed in less than an hour and in that time it achieves to load a lot of water in a vulnerable place as above, so right now we have to be more vigilant,” he declared.

    Since 2010, conditions have behaved in a very different way, and according to Esquivel, the rains have not been geographically extended for days or weeks, so that the soils have not been so full of water.

    But how can I know if soils are saturated with water where I live?

    For Esquivel, there are clear signals that determine when a field could be saturated with water and this is a warning to which we must pay close attention.

    “It can be determined by means of springs that appear in different places. The terrain is very muddy and cracks begin to occur in areas where there are active landslides, this usually happens before a definitive separation of the land given, “he explained.

    Although warnings are given, some Costa Ricans do not measure the consequences of ignoring them. For example, some of the 51 families that were affected by a landslide in November 2010 in Calle Lajas in Escazú, are returning to the site where the land took the life of 24 people at the time.

    “I understand that some four or five families are trying to return to their site, here is a declaration of uninhabitable of all households, even basic services do not work for the same reason, but they were seeking legal mechanisms to return. Equally are Tapezco of Santa Ana in Tablazo and Potrerillos in Acosta and an area called The Cascabela in Alajuelita at risk of landslides, “the expert explained.

    Rain overflows some rivers

    What is currently happening in our country is the result of the rains overflowing some rivers in the northern zone and the Caribbean.

    While flooding ceased to be the protagonists, overflowing rivers have caused emergencies in the communities of El Carmen, Buena Vista, Betania, and Batastillo River Valley, which remain isolated by the rising water.

    Even the staff of the Municipality of Guatuso began conducting the first assessments to determine the effect on housing, services and primary roads.

    According to preliminary assessments of the Municipal Emergency Committee 200 houses have been flooded, three bridges affected, and five partially swollen rivers were reported.

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose, Costa Rica

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