Published: 5 September 2012
September 5th 2012. Panama/Geneva - The Costa Rica Red Cross has deployed emergency teams to the areas affected by a powerful 7.6 magnitude earthquake which struck the north-western part of of the country earlier today (Wednesday), 87 miles west of the capital San Jose.
The Costa Rica Red Cross have no firm reports of deaths or injuries so far, but said there were difficulties accessing those living nearest to the epicentre. The organization has met with representatives from the government, and has committed to hiring a helicopter to undertake a more extensive assessment of the areas affected by the quake. National response teams are already on the ground and have started capturing information direct from the field.
In total the Costa Rica Red Cross has approximately 1,000 volunteers working across five branches with capacity to provide first aid, pre-hospital service support and also specialist rescue operations.
Enrique Guevara, IFRC communications officer in Panama, said initial reports suggest the earthquake was powerful and lasted a long time. "So far there have been no aftershocks, but there are fears there could be," he said. The earthquake has had an impact on Punta Arenas hospital and Hospital Mexico, where 15 Red Cross ambulances have been deployed to help evacuate patients.
Power and communications in much of the country were briefly knocked out, according to Costa Rican authorities. There have also reports of some damage in the towns closest to the epicentre. Authorities issued tsunami-watch alerts for much of the Pacific coastlines of Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, but these have now been lifted.
Red Cross staff are continuing to monitor the situation.
For more information, please contact:
Panama: Enrique Guevara
IFRC Latin America Comms Officer