Costa Rica: Shaken Bloggers Share Earthquake Stories

Now that the shaking after Costa Rica's 7.6-magnitude earthquake on September 5, 2012 has stopped, Costa Rican netizens are using their blogs to share their experiences during the quake.

Julio Córdoba, from the blog Ciencia Ficción [es], was at a hospital in San José, the capital, when the earthquake began. He writes:

Me sorprendió la serenidad de pacientes y familiares que llenábamos las bancas. El movimiento fue tan largo que me dio chance de filmar como 15 o 20 segundos pero edité algunas secciones por respeto a quienes aparecen en el video.

I was surprised by the serenity of patients and their families. The earthquake continued for so long that I got a chance to film about 15 or 20 seconds, but I edited some parts to respect those who appear in the video.

Julio shares the video in his blog:

He also describes ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’ of his experience in the hospital during the earthquake, and concludes:

Ahora nos corresponde ayudar, buscando los canales más honrados y eficientes, recordando que lo que para nosotros fue un gran susto es un desastre en varias comunidades. Además, hay que tener agua, pilas, foco y el celular cargado para informar en caso de que ocurra alguna eventualidad.

Now it is our duty to help, seeking the most honest and efficient channels, keeping in mind that what for us was a big scare is a disaster for several communities. Furthermore, we need to have water, batteries, flashlight and a charged cellphone to communicate in case of any eventuality.
Electric Engineering building at University of Costa Rica after September 5 earthquake. Image shared via Twitpic by user @criperro

Electric Engineering building at University of Costa Rica after September 5 earthquake. Image shared via Twitpic by user @criperro

Blogger Sole from Anchas Alamedas [es] describes her experience in a lengthy and entertaining post. She says that, like many others, at first she didn't realize that the shaking was due to an earthquake. Sole also writes about a young woman who happened to be with her at the time:

Dicen que las personas que pasan juntas por experiencias extremas quedan unidas por ese vínculo especial para toda la vida. Mi acompañante histérica se levantó a despedirse cuando yo me fui y me dio un abrazo como si hubiéramos sobrevivido un tsunami comiendo carne de ardilla durante un mes completo. Ahora somos mejores amigas.

They say that people that go through extreme experiences together are joined together for life by a special bond. My hysterical companion got up to say goodbye to me and hugged me as if we had survived a tsunami, eating squirrel meat for a whole month. Now we are best friends.

She adds:

Un dato más: Revisen el orden de llamadas que trataron de hacer y saquen sus cuentas. Dicen que en un temblor, uno piensa primero en lo que le es más querido.

One more thing: Check the order of the calls you tried to make and draw your own conclusions. They say that in an earthquake, you first think of what you love most.

Global Voices authors share their experiences

Global Voices contributors described their experience on our internal email group for the Latin America team. Jenny Cascante was in her home in San José when the shaking began:

estaba trabajando. se empezó a mover mi escritorio pero no estaba segura de que fuera un temblor (mi apartamento solo se mece, pero no suena nada) abrí tweetdeck y alguien había puesto #temblorcr. ahí no me quedó duda de lo que sucedía.

I was working. My desk began to move but I wasn't sure if it was an earthquake (my apartment just rocks back and forth, but no sound is heard). I opened Tweetdeck and someone had put #temblorcr [earthquake Costa Rica]. I had no doubt about what was happening after that.

Jenny also shared this video by Dikson Avila Rojas on YouTube:

Diego Molina was also at home in San José. Diego was sleeping and the quake woke him. He says that he felt things shaking, “in a way I had never felt before.”

Global Voices author Roy Rojas was at work in Santa Barbara de Heredia, talking on the phone with a co-worker who he left “talking to himself,” as Roy describes in his email. When asked how people around him reacted, he said:

De todo un poco, algunos tranquilos, evacuando el edificio, otros asustados y otros corriendo para salir rápido.

There was a little bit of everything, some were calm, evacuating the building, others were scared and running to leave quickly.

The earthquake was also felt quite strongly in neighboring Nicaragua. Author Norman García wrote that the earthquake was felt for a long time in various parts of the country, especially on the Pacific coast:

En los municipios de la costa del pacífico se suspendieron las clases y el SINAPRED (Sistema Nacional de Prevención de Desastres) inició un proceso de evacuación ya que los pobladores reportaron que el agua estaba alejandose de la costa por lo que se esperaba oleajes fuertes pero hasta el momento no se ha notificado de que esto haya pasado.

The municipalities in the Pacific coast suspended classes and the SINAPRED (National Disaster Prevention System) started an evacuation process since citizens reported that the water was receding from the coast so they expected strong waves, but until now there are no reports confirming this has happened.

According to Costa Rican newspaper La Nación, yesterday's 7.6-mangiute earthquake caused only moderate damage [es]. Meanwhile, the Red Cross has reported two deaths.


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  • planet8788

    I was eating breakfast at the BW Hotel, Irazu. Interestingly, a lot of people checked into the hotel the night before, I heard because their flight couldn’t land in Liberia (Guanacaste). They all started leaving their hotel about 8 a.m..
    First they get directed to a different airport. (It looked like most of them didn’t have all their luggage). Then when they start heading back in the morning, they get scared by an earthquake. What a way to start a vacation. Of course, they were a little safer in San Jose probably than if they had landed and were staying in Guanacaste.
    Surprised by the lack of damage. However, there are still significant aftershocks occurring still as of this afternoon in Guanacaste. There still isn’t really a full all-clear from this event yet.
    Incidentally, we made the trip back from San Jose to Guanacaste Wednesday afternoon. Most of the roads were completely cleaned up. I was quite impressed with the way things held up. Although I think it was because it was mostly a horizontal earthquake rather than a vertical one. Had there been a large tsunami, it would have been quite devastating.

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