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Texas State University student Laura Cano Amaya visited Costa Rica this summer for her dissertation field work. She observed connections between food security and risks in natural hazards, focusing on the development of household resilience to food insecurity measurement. In a collaborative work with the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, she conducted a survey in five communities in the vicinity of the Poás Volcano – one of the most affected areas of the 2009 earthquake.

With the assistance of the government and other organizations, much has been accomplished by the affected communities in the recovery phase after the earthquake. Nonetheless, after almost four years, the tourist industry is just starting to recover. Some of the reconstruction housing projects are on hold and families are still struggling to feed their families. The town of Cinchona was declared uninhabited after the earthquake and the residents were relocated to a new housing development called Nueva Cinchona. Although the families are appreciative of the “nice houses” they received, they don’t have access to land resources as they did before. One resident of Nueva Cinchona commented:  “we used to grow fruits and vegetables for us to eat. That helped us, especially at the end of the month. Now we are told that we cannot grow anything or have chickens here. It makes it hard.”

She will  present her finding during the AAG Annual Meeting April 8-12, 2014, in Tampa, Fla.

Research supported by: Texas State University, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, and AAG.

Laura Cano Amayo with members of the Agribusiness Women Association of Dulce Nombere, Costa Rica
Laura Cano Amaya (third from right) with members of the Agribusiness Women Association of Dulce Nombere, Costa Rica. This is one of several income-generation projects for women implemented in the communities impacted by the earthquake. (Photo by Ismael Amaya)
Poás Volcano in Costa Rica
The epicenter of the Cinchona earthquake of 2009 was to the east of the Poás Volcano in the Ángel-Varablanca fault. (Photo by Ismael Amaya)
New housing development Nueva Cinchona built to relocate the residents of Cinchona.
New housing development Nueva Cinchona built to relocate the residents of Cinchona after their town was declared uninhabited. This is a suburban type development with playgrounds, outside gym, and firefighter station in a rural setting.
Tourism activity is slowly coming back as road conditions are improving.
Tourism activity is slowly coming back as road conditions are improving.
This is a picture of a landslide in Varablanca that caused the collapse of a road and houses claiming several human lives.
The environmental impact of the earthquake is still present in many areas. This is a picture of a landslide in Varablanca that caused the collapse of a road and houses claiming several human lives. Landslides caused most of the structural damage and human loss in this area.