January 14, 2009

02CN: Adventists Aid in Costa Rica Quake Relief

Costa Rica: Earthquake Damages
Central American Adventist University

capThe Central American Adventist University campus in Costa Rica sustained significant damage during an earthquake that struck the country on January 8.
Centered about 22 miles northwest of San Jose, near the Poas Volcano National Park, the 6.1 magnitude quake left dozens missing, and thousands without water, electricity, and telephone service, church leaders report. Though the death toll at press time stood at 20, no deaths among Adventist have been reported.


Adventist volunteers (in orange) distribute food to quake victims.

Marlon Moodie, secretary and communication director for the South Central American Union based in Alauela, says the university sustained damages to its church, library, cafeteria, and engineering building. He also says reports of members losing their homes are coming in.    

"The hardest hit was in the North Mission region of Costa Rica, which oversees more than 55 churches" said Moodie. "Three of our regional church offices [in Costa Rica] began collecting food to be distributed." Church leaders are still trying to account for all their members and assessing damage as roads become more accessible to travel, church leaders said.
"The situation is very distressing," says Roberto Romero, ADRA Costa Rica director. "The earthquake hit a mountainous area with few inhabitants and homes, yet some 42 small communities disappeared completely; they are like ghost towns now."
According to Romero, some 20 young Adventist medical cadets from San Jose were offering medical attention the day after the earthquake. Dozens of Adventist young people also volunteered with Costa Rica's National Emergency Commission to help in rescue and aid operations.
ADRA/Costa Rica continues to coordinate with local Adventist churches in the collection of food, which will be distributed in government-designated disaster centers. Additional food collection and distributions are scheduled to continue throughout this week, said Romero.
Located in Central America between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica has nearly 60,000 Seventh-day Adventists worshiping in 173 churches.
                                                                                --Inter-American Division communication department/AR staff