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Mourning for 19 dead, 23 still missing after Costa Rica quake

by Staff Writers
San Jose (AFP) Jan 12, 2009
Costa Rica on Monday called for a week of mourning and a state of emergency in areas worst hit by a strong earthquake that rocked the country four days ago, leaving 19 dead and 23 still missing.

Authorities expressed doubt that they would find more survivors after the strongest quake to shake the Central American tourist destination, famed for its flora and fauna, in some 30 years.

The National Emergency Commission said there was little hope that rescue teams, working in mountainous terrain near the capital, San Jose, would find some 23 still missing after Thursday's 6.1 magnitude temblor, after 62 people were located since Sunday.

Colombian and US soldiers helped with rescue operations on Monday, and rescue workers have so far identified 14 of the 19 bodies, the commission said.

Almost 130,000 people have been affected by the quake, it added.

The British ambassador to San Jose confirmed that five British tourists reported missing were safe and that no British national figured among the missing.

The Canadian embassy in San Jose declined to comment on two of its citizens reported missing by local media.

Rescue workers have so far counted 250 houses that were completely destroyed and another 250 with some structural damage caused by the quake.

Some 2,248 people from 61 communities were made homeless and remained in temporary housing, officials said.

The quake's epicenter was near the Poas volcano, one of the country's main tourist attractions, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from San Jose.

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One dead, 46 missing in Guinea Bissau capsize: navy
Bissau (AFP) Jan 12, 2009
One person died and 46 were reported missing after the boat they were travelling in capsized off the coast of Guinea Bissau, the West African state's navy said Monday.

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