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San José, Costa Rica, Friday Edition
May 26, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 104
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Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Aerial photo displaying the "zone of collapse" within the Tilarán canton.
Intense storms cause some damage in Arenal area
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

At least seven mudslides are along the road connecting Nuevo Arenal and La Fortuna, reports from the public works ministry indicate.

In addition to the mud, downed trees and flooding are reported in the area, according to a report from the emergency commission. Public works confirmed that there were obstructions on the road preventing passage.

The torrential downpours Wednesday night and early Thursday morning caused the road blockages and infrastructure damage, according to the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias.

These storms forced the emergency commission to put the canton of Tilarán on a yellow alert Thursday afternoon. 

The recommendations from the alert are for the population in the affected areas to stay off the roads and not attempt to drive, to check one’s personal supplies of food and water and alert officials immediately if they are missing or lacking anything.

Emergency workers are considering the possibility of setting up a temporary shelter if needed, the Comisión said.

The greatest amount of damage is at Nuevo Arenal, Viejo Arenal and Tilaradora, emergency officials said.

So far, there have been no reports of injured or missing persons coming from official sources.

The Comisión can confirm that there is significant damage to property and livestock in the area in addition to the public infrastructure.

Downed tree
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo   
Downed tree at La Unión de Nuevo Arenal.

Some of the roads affected by the storm include: Ruta 142 that goes between Arenal and La Fortuna, Ruta 926 between Tronadora and Arenal and the Las Minas bridge over the Río Chiquito among others.

Crews from the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes as well as the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad are working to clear the damage from the roads, officials said.

Meanwhile, emergency workers are looking to provide water to the more than 700 residences who lost drinking water following damage to an aqueduct at Tronadora. The municipality’s emergency commission is surveying the area for more damage.

The Instituto Meteorológico de Costa Rica forecasted that there will be heavy rains expected to accumulate in Guanacaste within the next few hours.

In the Central Valley, Zona Norte and mountains in the Caribbean, rainfall amounts will be between 40 to 70 millimeters between  3 to 6 hours.

“Particularly in Nuevo Arenal and surrounding areas, there will be rains of variable intensity and thunderstorm until late at night accumulated between 30 to 50 millimeters from 3 to 6 hours,” the Costa Rican weather service said in a statement Thursday evening.

Banco Central announces new exchange rate plan
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After several weeks on the rise, the exchange rate had its first decrease Thursday morning thanks to a new injection of dollars by the Banco Central, which sold $1 billion in the currency exchange market.

According to data provided by the bank, the reference price for each dollar sold stood at 587.47 colons during the morning. In regards the average price for all other banks, dollars were sold at 595 colons each and bought at 585.56 colons.

During a press conference, Banco Central also confirmed three new measures to keep the exchange rate steady.

First of all, it will continue selling dollars whenever required from its $7.2  billion reserve. Secondly, the bank announced it will intervene in the currency market anytime during the day in order to protect the exchange rate from violent changes.

Finally, the monetary policy rate was increased from 3 to 4 percent  for the fourth time in the year.
This allows commercial banks to increase the interest rates for savings in colones, making them more attractive for the general public. 

These measures seek to prevent any pressure on the inflation rates and the consequent hike in the prices of goods and services. The central bank forecasts a maximum inflation of 4 percent for 2017.

The shortage of dollars is attributed to a macroeconomic incertitude from the Donald Trump administration in the United States.

This has led many investors to secure their funds by accumulating dollars.

Another reason, according to the bank, is an increase in the amount of Costa Ricans who prefer to keep their savings in dollars, because the interest rates in colons are not attractive.

A third reason, provided by the bank, is the increase in imported goods during the first quarter of 2017, which also need to be paid in dollars.

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