Costa Rican Rescue Mission
Friday, December 05, 2008
Summary of a letter from ARGO’s Costa Rican Distributor:
Friday morning I got a call from the Costa Rican National Commission for Emergencies who asked us to join the rescue efforts in the region of Limon on the Caribbean Coast where massive floods had created havoc for countless villages and towns.
At 4.00 am the next day we left with our ARGOs - my own Frontier 8x8 650 and my friend Paulo’s Avenger 8x8 750 EFI - to two different locations; Matina and Saripiqui on the Caribbean Coast in Costa Rica. My Frontier 8x8 was to go to Matina and Paulo's EFI to another area along the coast. In the past we both had participated in rescue missions but never on such a large scale.Amphibious ARGO to the Rescue!
The situation in Limon was so serious that the C.N.E was asking help from all over the country. It was also the first time ever that amphibian means were to be used in the
We towed the ARGO to where the flooding started. The weather had improved over the past two days and the water was receding fast but some communities were still dangerously isolated. When we got to the first flooded road we unloaded the ARGO filled with food, water and clothing and rushed to the communities in distress,
distributing the goods to families in need that had been suffering for ten
After distributing our rations we took what was left of them and headed directly for another area with the ARGO. We followed a very muddy track and reached a few isolated small farms. This was also the first time the farmers had seen anybody since the flooding had started. Our rations were very welcome. The one gallon water tanks we
delivered were a blessing as most of the wells had been polluted by the floodwaters.Locals Spirits Buoyed by the Amphibious ARGO ATV
One aspect of the rescue mission I noted is that the ARGO really seemed to
make these very poor and disaster stricken people happy. Somehow the sight of
this crazy machine and its "mud" covered occupants made their day.
After visiting a number of other villages and distributing rations we drove back to the C.N.E headquarters in Batan and debriefed the various managers about what we did and had seen.
The next day we left with the fully loaded ARGO and headed for another isolated
community. Same as the first day we were the first C.N.E. rescuers to get
there. This community had been hit very bad as a huge eight meter high levy had
broken and caused massive flooding in the area. Many houses of this poor community had been washed right away and again we faced the desperation of the poorest having lost what little they had. Each time we visited a house or what was left of it we gave the residents their rations and noted their names and identity numbers. It was a slow, methodical but absolutely necessary process.
Our job done and rations depleted we headed back to Batan where we took a
break and watched the US Army Red Cross Black Hawk helicopters bring rations to
the Talamanca Indians. As with many things in Costa Rica even major
operations like this one tend take a turn toward a "volksfest" were everyone
makes the best of bad times. One knows that over here it is when they stop smiling that the real misery starts.
The news report of the last day can be read on the Commission website here
Best regards to all,
Erik Viktor Dannau