By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
An 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck just south of the Costa Rican-Panamá
border early Thursday.
The quake took place at 1:11 a.m. Costa Rican time while many persons
still were celebrating the arrival of Christmas.
The rolling quake was felt in all of Costa Rica. Some damage was reported
near Golfito and in Ciudad Neily and points nearby. Some injuries
but no deaths were reported in Costa Rica.
There were believed to be a number of injuries in Panamá in the
Province of Chiriquí. One report said that a baby had been killed
by a falling wall there.
Costa Rican officials said that the cantons affected were Coto Brus,
Corredores (including Ciudad Neily) and Buenos Aires. All are in
the southwestern part of the country.
The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa
Rica pinpointed the location to be 20 kms. (12 miles) southeast of Puerto
Armuelles, Panamá. The estimate of depth was 15 kms. (7.2 miles).
The biggest damage reported was to the Hospital de Ciudad Neily where
serious structural damage took place. Some 50 patients there were waiting
to leave or already had been transferred to other hospitals.
Electric lines were knocked out in Golfito, San Vito and the city of
Buenos Aires. A house was destroyed in Laurel, which is right on the border
with Panamá, and six homes in Alto Conte suffered damage. One was
rendered uninhabitable there, according to the Comisión Nacional
de Prevención y Atención de Emergencias.
U.S. National Earthquake
Star is estimated location of Chrismas Day earthquake just south of
Information Center graphic
Vehicle traffic in the area was being restricted due to damage to a
bridge over the Río Corredores. A bridge over the Río Colorado
was obstructed, the commission said. Landslides and collapses of the roadway
were reported between Ciudad Neily and Paso Canoas, which is right on the
border with Panamá.
Officials at the Hospital de Ciudad Neilly said 10 persons were treated
for injuries due to blows from falling objects in their homes.
Emergency workers from the commission and the Ministerio de Obras Públicas
y Transporte were in the area since early morning assessing the damage.
Luis Diego Morales, president of the national emergency commission,
was philosophical. In a morning press conference he pointed out that the
scenic beauty of Costa Rica is accompanied by such events as the earthquake.
He urged the nationís citizens to continue to take preventative measures
such as keeping fresh water, canned foods and other survival gear
available in their homes in case of a more severe event.