Costa Rica

Costa Rica: Floods Emergency Appeal Operations Update no. 1 (MDRCR016)


Description of the disaster

From 21 September to 6 October 2017, a Zone of Intertropical Convergence (ZCI), characterized by the entry of humidity from the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, hovered over Costa Rica; it subsequently developed Costa Rica into Tropical Storm Nate on 5 October 2017, which caused flooding and landslides throughout the country.

Tropical Storm Nate generated heavy rains, winds, and storm surges, causing widespread infrastructural damage, loss of property in public offices, the disruption of agricultural production and local ecosystems, one death and various injuries to humans and livestock. Due to the storm’s significant impact on the country.

The storm affected 76 of the country's 82 cantons, 516 points were damaged along 117 national routes and 509,000 were left without water, prompting the Costa Rican government to open 137 collective centres for 7,073 people and the president to declare a State of Emergency for Costa Rica. As of 14 October, 874 isolated people were reported, 12 communities without access, 7 sheltered established, 87 sheltered communities, 40 communities without water, 1 community without electricity, 2,160 of food kits distributed, and 900 food kits and 8,760 liters of water in stock.

According to data from the Acosta Municipal Emergency Commission, the storm most severely affected the canton of Acosta, which suffered flooding, the destruction of public roads, bridge collapses and landslides in the highlands; additionally, the storm destroyed houses and damaged to the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers and Rural Aqueducts (ASADAS)’s distribution system; three aqueducts are still out of service. The priority is to employ specialized machinery to repair the damaged roads and clean rivers and streams contaminated by the storm.

As a temporary measure, the government, CRRC and other organizations are supplying water to the population through tanks at different points Moreover, most affected educational centres have resumed classes, s and transportation services have mostly been re-established, but with longer transit times.

On 23 October 2017, CNE’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) of declared a yellow alert for the zones of Valle Central, Pacifica Central, Pacifico Sur and Pacifico Norte due to increased rainfall along the Pacific Rim; furthermore, the heavy rainfall is expected to continue in the coming weeks, leading the CRRC to place the branches in the Pacific Rim area under alert and pre-position relief items in this zone. To date, 15 people have been evacuated in Upala canton.