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<< Back to: Member News: ICLEI e-News | issue 8, June - July 2007

Responding to disasters in Matina

May 03, 2007

Matina (Costa Rica) is studying the occurrence and type of natural hazards to better improve the quality of future disaster response and prevention.

The types of natural disasters that impact the city of Matina are high winds that have resulted in downed power lines, damaged crops and trees, and the blockage of major transportation routes. Flooding is the most significant problem, and it impacts are exacerbated by deforestation caused by primary growth forest being cleared for banana plantations and residential expansion, and insufficient dikes that often end up redirecting water to residential areas.

Natural disaster response is managed by the Matina Emergency Response Committee (MERC). MERC has a response system designed to warn the public, and improvements are underway to provide warnings in a more timely and consistent manner.

A review of the disaster management response in the community identified the need for education, and facilitate preparedness in homes, as most residents do not leave their land and homes to utilize local shelters.

ICLEI’s Resilient Communities & Cities Initiative is aimed at mainstreaming disaster resilience in the planning and decision-making processes of local governments. For more information please contact: resilient.communities@iclei.org.

Matina is one of 25 local governments in Latin America and the Caribbean who are currently Members of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. For more information on ICLEI and its activities in the Latin American and Caribbean region, please visit www.iclei.org/lacs.

Source: “Risk Perception of Natural Hazards in the Matina Canton, Costa Rica”, Case Study for Disaster Management in the Latin American Setting.