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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 January, 2005, 00:14 GMT
Floods hit Costa Rica and Panama
Luis Silva tries to salvage his belongings from his flooded home in Naranjal de Sarapiqui, Costa Rica, north-east of the capital San Jose
Thousands are being affected by the floods
Costa Rica's President Abel Pacheco has declared a national emergency after three days of heavy rain led to flooding on the Caribbean coast.

More than 7,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and there is one confirmed death.

The authorities have been unable to reach some indigenous communities in the south of the country.

The flooding has also affected neighbouring Panama, where 5,000 people have been evacuated.

Helicopters there were said to be rescuing people from the rooftops of houses surrounded by floodwaters there, according to the National Civil Defence System.

Those evacuated are being sheltered in schools and other buildings.

No army

The Costa Rican authorities say the floodwaters had also damaged the country's bridge and road network.

"In other countries these things are handled by armiesand they have equipment like helicopters, but here we do itwith volunteers and we have done everything possible,"said President Pacheco, whose country has no formal armed forces.

The country's emergency commission said temporary shelters had been set up in churches and other refuges.

Rescue workers are still trying to reach some of the areas affected, including indigenous reserves in the region of Alta Talamanca.

Strong quake shakes summit city
21 Nov 04 |  Americas
Panama flooding kills nine people
18 Sep 04 |  Americas
Country profile: Costa Rica
02 Jul 04 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Panama
02 Sep 04 |  Country profiles

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