The local economy is being severely tested by damage from Monday's earthquake that killed at least 80 people in Costa Rica and Panama, injured 1,200 and left nearly 70,000 homeless.
Damage at Puerto de Limon, near the epicenter of the temblor, and lower sea levels caused by the quake have made it impossible to export bananas, coffee and other products from the port. Officials said the banana industry alone has lost $2 million daily since Monday.Construction workers began rebuilding bridges and roads leading to the Pacific port of Caldera, where Costa Rica's banana growers hope to send their crops for export.
Efforts also were under way Thursday to transpot Costa Rican bananas - a key export earner - by truck to Panamanian and Honduran ports.
Food and medical supplies continued to arrive from Mexico, Venezuela, the United States and other countries to help relief efforts in both Panama and Costa Rica.
Meanwhile, scientists said they discovered the formation of a new fault near the epicenter of Monday's powerful quake that measured 7.2 on the Richter scale. Wednesday's powerful aftershock, which was felt throughout Costa Rica and in northern Panama, was attributed to the new fault.
The Costa Rican National Siesmological Observatory measured the aftershock at 4.8 on the Richter scale; the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., said it had a magnitude of 5.9.
No deaths or injuries were blamed on the aftershock, the strongest of thousands that have hit the area since Monday's quake, centered 26 miles southwest of Puerto de Limon on Costa Rica's Atlantic Coast.
Panamanian President Guillermo Endara traveled Thursday with his wife to Bocas del Toro in northern Panama to get a first-hand look at the damage.
Newspapers said residents of Panama City gave $57,000 for relief efforts in the hard-hit northern area of the country. Food and clothing also were pouring in from residents in the capital.