Costa Rica

Costa Rica: Floods DREF Operation No. MDRCR003 Update No. 1

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Glide No. TC-2008-000147-CRI

The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

Period covered by this update: 17 September to 7 November 2008.

Summary: CHF 81,000 (USD 73,636 or EUR 50,155) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 17 September, 2008 to support the National Society in delivering assistance to some 5,000 beneficiaries.

Due to the indirect influence of several tropical storms affecting the region, on 2 September 2008, the Costa Rican government declared a red alert throughout the country. This DREF operation includes activities in water and sanitation and rehabilitation of water wells. Due to the constant rain caused by tropical depression number 16, the clean up activities have been delayed and are planned to start on 15 November 2008. Nevertheless, this DREF operation update will inform on further activities accomplished by the National Society.

This operation is expected to be implemented over three months, and will therefore be completed by 17 December 2008. A Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by 17 March 2009). The timeframe of this operation may be extended due to delays encountered at the beginning of the emergency.

The situation

Central America has been deeply affected by tropical storms during the second semester of 2008. Indirect influence of tropical storm Hanna brought heavy rain and caused rivers to overflow in Costa Rica. Infrastructure sustained serious damages, especially water wells in the province of Guanacaste. The most affected regions in Guanacaste were Santa Cruz, Liberia, Bagaces and Cañas. More than 4,500 people were affected in these regions. The National Emergency Committee in coordination with the Costa Rican Red Cross (CRRC) distributed food parcels to approximately 2,529 people in 21 temporary shelters.

Several main roads were blocked by landslides isolating 12 communities and damaging homes in six communities. Currently, the main concern is the rehabilitation of water wells, since there is a risk of contamination and water borne diseases. The effects of tropical depression number 16 caused additional burden to the affected people in Costa Rica, delaying clean up activities. However, these activities will reassume shortly. To date, a total of 11,316 people were affected by the rainy season in Costa Rica.