Tuesday 4 October 2022

Ten cantons at “unprecedented risk” from COVID-19 and winter

Especially at risk due to COVID-19 and the disasters associated with the rainy season are areas with high population density, housing problems, overcrowding, poverty and informality

NationalTen cantons at “unprecedented risk” from COVID-19 and winter

Especially at risk due to COVID-19 and the disasters associated with the rainy season are areas with high population density, housing problems, overcrowding, poverty and informality

(QCOSTARICA) This year, a group of cantons in the country will have to take extreme measures to safeguard their population from the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergencies associated with the rainy season.

According to an investigation by the State of the Nation Program (PEN), said combination of factors puts at risk ten of the eighteen cantons that present a high incidence of disasters related to the rainy season.

The list is made up of:

  1. Desamparados
  2. Alajuela
  3. San Jose
  4. Puntarenas
  5. Cartago
  6. San Carlos
  7. Aserrí
  8. Pococí
  9. Limón
  10. La Unión
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From that list, four of the seven cantons with the highest number of COVID-19 cases are also on the listl of sites with the highest propensity to suffer disasters at this time of year.

These are:

  • San José
  • San Carlos
  • Alajuela
  • Desamparados

With data as of June 26, the PEN researcher, Leonardo Merino, explained that seven cantons monopolized, to date, 46.5% of the positive cases of COVID-19:

  • San José
  • San Carlos
  • Alajuela
  • Desamparados
  • Heredia
  • San Ramón
  • Alajuelita

“Emergencies are a challenge that the country faces on a daily basis. In the current context of a pandemic, this situation could double strike several areas of the national territory. With the onset of the rains, some cantons will experience disasters derived from events such as landslides, floods, winds and others, which would affect houses, production and even cause the loss of human lives.

Flooding is a result of heavy rains in many areas around the country
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“To the foregoing, today is added an unknown type of emergency for Costa Rica due to COVID-19, which will lead to facing an unprecedented scenario of threats, usually under social, economic, labor, and institutional conditions that can worsen the impact that this current scenario it adds to the already known and serious disaster scenario,” Merino analyzed.

Especially at risk due to COVID-19 and the disasters associated with the rainy season is the canton of Desamparados, the most populous in the province of San José. This is due to the number of positive cases of the new coronavirus in its boundaries and the number of annual reports of rainfall, landslides, floods, and other climatic emergencies.

Merino also detected that in some cantons there are similar conditions that increase the risk. Among these elements, the researcher reviewed the high population density; housing problems and overcrowding; poverty; informality; poor working conditions; territorial disorder; land-use changes, and productive activities that do not prioritize risk reduction, among others.

“All these aspects can favor both the high impact of disasters and the spread of contagion, in populations that have limited capacities for confinement, derived from their socioeconomic, housing and work situation,” concluded the researcher.

How to prevent a critical situation from coming true due to the combination of COVID-19 and natural disasters this season? According to Merino, it is essential that the design of public policies consider the particularities of each region and the cantons based on data. In this way, he considered that the current emergency can be attended to and future situations anticipated.

Up to Monday, July 1, the Ministry of Health reported 3,753 cases of COVID-19 and 17 deaths.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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