Costa Ricans Head to the Beach Next Week to Celebrate Easter.
Unfortunately, no matter the cause for celebration, when Costa Ricans are off work and congregating in large groups near the ocean, river and on the roads, there is a rise in violent deaths, be it from drowning, deadly disputes or car accidents. Last year there were a total of 31 violent deaths during Semana Santa, or Holy Week including 10 from drowning and 13 from transit accidents.
Police, health, emergency and transit officials are already preparing themselves this year by doubling their forces to avoid a re-occurrence of these statistics. The Red Cross will have a total of 800 doctors, paramedics and volunteers on duty and an additional 50 stations for lifeguards along the coasts and rivers. The will also have 50 stations set up along the national highways to facilitate a faster response to transit accidents.
In terms of security, 20,000 officials including firefighters, police offers, transit and National Emergency Council officials, as well as representatives from the Environmental Ministry and the Ministry of Transportation, will participate during the week to keep citizens and visitors as safe as possible. The transit police alone will have 850 officials manning nearly 500 posts along national highways to control speeding and drunk driving.
Authorities expect a total of 1 million people to leave San Jose during the week to visit the beach or mountains. The majority of the security measures will be focused on the Pacific coast, which is the top destination for Semana Santa activities. The police will still be on alert in the country’s capital to make sure thieves do not take advantage of the ghost town effect.
Another move to prevent accidents is the annual decision to stop the sale of liquor on Thursday (midnight Wednesday) through midnight Good Friday of Holy Week.
The Ministry of Transportation has already promised to issue a decree that will prevent the transit of tractor trailers on Easter Sunday from noon to 7pm in order to prevent the backups they cause on one-lane mountainous sections of highway.
Another move to facilitate transportation is the decision by Naviera Tambor, which runs the ferry between Puntarenas and Tambor on the Nicoya Peninsula, to increase its departures to 10 a day from 4am to 10pm, to get more travelers where they want to be.
|Written by Claire Saylor|
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Filed under: Costa Rica News on March 13th, 2008