Costa Rica

Costa Rica: Hurricane Otto - DREF Final Report (n° MDRCR015)

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A. Situation Analysis

Description of the Emergency

According to the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, Hurricane Otto entered Costa Rica territory close to the town of Los Chiles as a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale (wind gusts up to 175 km/h) on 24 November 2016, which qualified Otto as the southernmost hurricane on record to hit Central America. Hurricane Otto moved on a west south-west trajectory at an average speed of 15 km/h across Costa Rica before exiting the country on 25 November.

The rains that fell along its path across Costa Rica triggered multiple Red and Yellow Alerts from the National Emergency Operation Committee (NEOC).

According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport's National Highway Administration Council (CONAVI for its acronym in Spanish), damage to transport infrastructure (roads and bridges) was estimated at around 4,734 million Costa Rica colones (approx. 8.8 million US dollars). CONAVI reported that the greatest impact occurred in the central region, with 63 damaged roads, followed by the Brunca Region with 41, Huetar Altántica with 35, Chorotega with 7 and Huetar Norte with 4, and it reported that only the roads in the Central Pacific area remained unscathed.

An airlift operation, which arrived on 25 and 26 November 2016, was conducted with Costa Rica, Panamanian and American aircraft to distribute food, medicine and hygiene items to hard-to-reach areas, especially in Alta Talamanca and in Pacífico Sur, where some communities were cut off.

Movement Coordination

The IFRC was in continuous contact with the National Society once the low-pressure system began forming on 15 November 2016, and it held regional coordination meetings with Central America National Societies and internal Movement partners to gather information regarding the National Societies’ preparedness and response actions.

Additionally, a disaster management delegate was deployed to the country, in coordination with the National Society, to assist with the development of the emergency plan of action to activate Disaster Relief Emergency Funds; the delegate later conducted monitoring visits to oversee the implementation of the operational activities.

The IFRC, on behalf of the Costa Rica Red Cross, would like to extend thanks to the Canadian Red Cross Society (Canadian government) and the Spanish government (Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation – AECID), for their generous contributions to the replenishment of this DREF. The major donors and partners of the DREF include the Australian, American and Belgian governments, the Austrian Red Cross, the Canadian Red Cross and government, the Danish Red Cross and government, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), the Irish and the Italian governments, the Japanese Red Cross Society, the Luxembourg government, the Monaco Red Cross and government, the Netherlands Red Cross and government, the Norwegian Red Cross and government, the Spanish government, the Swedish Red Cross and government, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the Medtronic and Zurich foundations, and other corporate and private donors.

The balance of this operation (59,548 CHF) will be reimbursed to the DREF