Tuesday 4 October 2022

Trapped: ‘Spending The Night Sleeping Next To A mountain and With Unstoppable Rain”

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04 October 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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Silvia Chaves-Herra, 38 years old and a journalist by profession, is one of dozens who were trapped on Friday between the multiple landslides that occurred on Ruta 32 due to heavy rains that affected much of the country over the weekend. She said: “spending the night sleeping next to a mountain and with an unstoppable rain is a horror movie”.

This picture was taken when the Red Cross arrived. Silvia Chaves-Herra (white top with arms crossed). Courtesy of Silvia Chaves-Herra.

On Friday, she and a delegation from the Banco Nacional where on their way back to San Jose from Bribri, in Talamanca, where they were working. Although they decided to return early to avoid being affected by the rain, a traffic accident on the way prevented them from arriving in San Jose on time.

“When we entered the mountain (cerro in Spanish), at about 8 pm, it raining heavy and caused the landslide. We tried to communicate with the authorities, but there was no (cellular) signal. We were about a kilometer from the Zurquí, where there are high walls, so we decided to turn around and return to Guápiles, but there was too much rain, rocks and trees were falling. They were rivers with trees and rocks,” Chaves said. That is why they tried to spot themselves in a place that was a bit safer.

The Ruta 32 in the area of the Brailio Carrillo on Saturday
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Along with the car in which she and her companions were traveling, there were about six vehicles, whose drivers had also tried to turn back, also to no avail. Among these was a car of the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias (CNE) – National Emergencies Commission – headed for Siquirries with meals, which gave Chaves the trapped a bit of peace, because they had a radio.

“When we were there, the driver of the truck (who died later after a landslide fell on his vehicle) passed. Some people told him not to continue, but he continued and, the next day (Saturday), we realized what had happened,” she said.

In total, there were about 14 people in that group, including two children. Nobody had food or water.

Work crews are working to clean up the mess, but the rain has yet to let up. Authotities say there is a lot of water accumulated at the top of the cerro

According to Silvia, despite the fear and stress they experienced that night, the group she was with remained calm and, in addition, no one got sick.

To hydrate, what they ate pineapples left in the truck slammed by the landslide.

Hope returned around 10 am sn Saturday, with the arrival of Cruzrojistas (Red Cross officials) arrived with sweets.

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“Really, when they arrived, they gave us security, they gave us encouragement, they spoke positive words,” said Chaves, praising the work by the authorities during an emergency, in particular, this emergency.

“In cases of emergency, one does not really think about what the transit police, fire department, police and and Red Cross do. They do an incredible job,” she said.

At 2 pm, the transit police arrived. Silvia and the others, who were two or three landslides from the large one, they left the car and could get out of there on foot, around 4 pm.

Source (in Spanish): La Nacion

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