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Costa Rica earthquake leaves residents and tourists on edge

January 9, 2009 | 10:33 am

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Residents and tourists remain on edge in Costa Rica, a day after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake shook most of the Central American nation. This morning, the Red Cross confirmed that five people died after an initial count of 14 dead; almost two dozen are missing, according to the Associated Press.

It was a rollicking and sleepless night for many in and beyond the capital city of San Jose, which was close to the epicenter, as well as for people abroad concerned about family and friends visiting the outdoors paradise.

Outposts was happy to provide a forum for those seeking or sharing information, and again invites input.

As I mentioned on the comment board, I spoke to Rishon Wagner, a transplant from San Diego who lives on the slope of Poas volcano near the town of Grecia -- and very near the epicenter.

During the quake, her refrigerator crawled across the kitchen floor. There was concern among the ex-pat community in Grecia that the volcano might blow. There was a smaller earthquake on Wednesday, and before it struck the air smelled of sulfur.

In an interview this morning, Ruth Guzman, who lives part-time in San Jose and part-time in Southern California, said her house became like the fishing boat in the movie "La Tormenta Perfecta," or "The Perfect Storm." Guzman said her floor shook so violently that she couldn't walk.

Eerily, the earthquake struck moments after she had hung up after an argument with her husband, who lives in Torrance. almost all of her dishes broke but the house  was OK. Others in town were not as fortunate.

Fortunately, though, the earth is settling and Costa Rica again beckons nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts of all sorts.

In fact, while searching our database for earthquake photos, I could locate only one: of the body of a dead child being unearthed from a landslide. I chose the Mono Titi monkey photo instead.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo credit: Kanutto Fuentes

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